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HE HABITS OF GOOD SOCIETY. 



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HABITS OF GOOD SOCIETY 



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LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. 



THOUGHTS, HINTS, AND ANECDOTES CONCERNING SOCIAL OBSERVANCES 
NICE POINTS OP TASTE AND GOOD MANNERS ; 
AND THE ART OF MAKING ONE's-SELF AGREEABLE. 

THE 'WHOLE INTERSPERSED "WITH 
HUMOROUS ILLUSTRATIONS OP SOCIAL PREDICAMENTS J 
REMARKS ON THE HISTORY AND CHANGES OF FASHION ; 

AND THR 

DIFFERENCES OF ENGLISH AND CONTINENTAL ETIQUETTE 



LONDON: 
JAMES HOGG & SON 



CONTENTS. 



Preface. 



PAGE 

..11 



The Lady's Preface, 17 

Thoughts on Society and the Spirit of Social Observances, . .19 



Manners : 

How can they be acquired? 

Different means investigated. 

Necessity of some Guide. 

Ancient and Modern Authori- 
ties on Manners. 

The true principle of Manners. 

What is Society 1 

The necessity of Social Inter- 
course. 

Three Classes of Bad 
Society : 

1. Low Society, distinguished by 

Familiarity. 
Anecdotes of Extreme Famili- 
arity in the last Three Cen- 
turies. 

Familiarity from want of Re- 
spect ; from Coarseness ; from 
Shyness ; from Curiosity. 

2. Vulgar Society, distinguished by 

Pretension ; Gentility ; Ser- 
vility ; Overscrupulousness ; 
Assumption of Refinement 
in Language and in Habits. 

3. Dangerous Society : 

Sketch of English Society from 
the Sixteenth Century. 

Rise and Present Position of 
the Middle Classes. 



The Requisites of Good 
Society : 

1. Good Breeding. 

2. Education. 

3. Cultivation of Taste. 

4. Reason. 

5. The Art of Speech. 

6. A Knowledge of English 

Literature. 

7. Moral Character. 

8. Temper. 

9. Hospitality. 

10. Good Manners. 

11. Birth. 

12. Wealth. 

13. Rank. 

14. Distinction. 

The Spirit of Social Ob- 
servances : 
The Connexion between the 

Laws of Christianity and 

those of Society. 
Domestic Position. 
Paterfamilias. 
The Matron. 

The Young Married Man. 

The Bachelor. 

Tbe Young Lady. 

The Art of making One , s-self 



6 



CONTENTS. 



PART I.— THE INDIVIDUAL. 



PAGE 

CHAPTER I. — The Deessing-Room, 101 

Cleanliness. The Nails. 

The Bath : Hot, Cold, and Razors and Shaving. 

Tepid. Beards, Moustaches, WMskers. 

The Teeth. The Hair. 



CHAPTER II.— The Lady's Toilet, 118 



Early Rising. 
Cleanliness and Exercise. 
Rouge and Cosmetics. 



The Hair. 

Perfumes, Toilet Appliances, 
&c. 



CHAPTER III.— Deess, 128 



Fashion : Appropriateness to 
Age ; to Position ; to Place ; 
Town and Country; on the 
Continent; to Climate; to 
Size; to different occasions. 



Simplicity. 
Jewellery. 

Maxims for Ornaments. 
Orders, &c. 

Cleanness and Freshness. 
Linen. 

Seasonable Dress. 



Estimate of a Wardrobe. 
Morning Dress at Home. 
Dress for Walking. 

.... for Visits. 

.... for Dinner Parties. 

.... for Evening Parties and 

Balls. 
The Hat. 

Well-dressed and 111- dressed. 



Different Styles of Dress. 
Sporting Costume. 
Hunting, &c. 



CHAPTER IV.— Lady's Deess, 

The Love of Dress. 

Extravagance, Pecuniary, and 
in Fashion. 

Modern Dress, Stays, Tight- 
ness, &c. 

Dress and Feeling. 

The Ordinary In-door Dress. 

The Ordinary Out-door Dress. 



160 

Country Dress. 

Carriage and Visiting Dress. 

Evening Costume at Home. 

Dinner Dress. 

Evening Party Dress. 

Ball Dress. 

Riding Dress. 

Court Dress, 



CONTENTS. 



7 



CHAPTER V. — Accomplishments, . 



PAGE 

.188 



Their Value. 

Self-defence— Boxing. 

The Sword and the Fist. 

Duelling. 

Field Sports. 

Riding. 

Mounting. 

Assisting a Lady to Mount. 

Driving. 

Dancing. 

Quadrilles. 

Round-dances. 

Hints on Dancing. 

The Yaltz. 

Polka. 

Other Dances. 



The Piano. 
Music in General. 
Singing. 
Cards. 

Round Games. 
Languages. 

Knowledge of Current Affairs. 
Carving : Hints on Carving 

and Helping. 
Soup. 
Fish. 

Joints (Beef, Mutton, Lamb, 
Veal, Pork, Ham, Venison). 

Animals served whole. 

Fowls, Game, Goose, Turkey, 
&c. 



CHAPTER VI. — Feminine Accomplishments, , 



230 



Their Necessity. 

Social and Domestic Value. 

Music. 

Choice of Instruments. 
Singing. 

Age a restriction. 
Choice of Songs. 



Etiquette of Singing and Play- 
ing. 

Appropriateness . 

German and Italian Singing. 

Working. 

"Working Parties Abroad. 
Appropriateness of Work. 



CHAPTER VII. — Manners, Carriage, and Habits, 



,239 



The necessity for Laws of Eti- 
quette. 

Manner : value of a good one. 
Rules for preserving it. 
Self-respect. 
Affectation. 

Different kinds of Manner to 

be avoided. 
A change of Manner demanded 

by circumstances. 
Carriage. 



Dignity. 

Physical Carriage, and how a 

man should walk. 
The Smile. 

Vehement Action to be avoided. 
Certain Bad Habits. 
Smoking discussed. 
Etiquette thereof. 
A Lecture on Eating and 

Drinking at Dinner, and 

Habits at Meals. 



8 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER VIII.— The Cabbiage of a Lady, 



PAGB 

.263 



Its Importance to the Sex. 

Young Ladies. 

Modesty. 

Agreeableness . 

Politeness. 

Dignity. 

Delicacy of Language. 



Temper. 

Fastness, Flirting, &c. 
The Prude and the Blue Stock- 
ing. 

Bearing of Married Women. 

French Manners. 

The Physical Carriage of Ladies. 



PART II. — THE INDIVIDUAL IN INDIVIDUAL 
RELATIONS. 

CHAPTER LX.— In Public, 274 



The Promenade. 
The " Cut." 

Its Folly and objectionable 

character. 
Sometimes necessary. 
Should be made Inoffensively. 
Etiquette of the " Cut." 
The Salute. 
Its History. 



Different 
tion. 



Modes of Saluta- 



Shaking Hands. 
Various ways of doing so. 
Walking and Driving with 
Ladies. 

Etiquette of Railway Travel- 
ling. 



CHAPTER X.— In Peivate, 



.290 



The Visit. 

Proper Time and Occasions 
for Visiting. 

Introduction by Letters. 

Visits of Condolence and Con- 
gratulation, 



Hours for Visits. 
The Cards. 
Etiquette in Calling. 
" Not at Home." 
Visits in Good Society. 
Visits in Country Houses. 



CONTENTS. 



9 



PART III.— THE INDIVIDUAL IN COMPANY. 



PAGE 

CHAPTER XL— Dinners, Diners, and Dinnee-Parties, 300 

Dinner Parties — By whom [What to put on the Table. 

and to whom given. Soup. 
Selection of Guests. ("Wine and its Etiquettes. 

Their Number. Fish. 
The Dining-room. j The Joint. 

Its Furniture and Temperature. ! "Vegetables. 
The Shape of the Table. jThe Order of Serving. 

Lighting. , Salad. 

The Servants. Grace. 
The Russian mode of Laying Dinner Etiquette. 

the Table. ; Punctuality, &c. 



CHAPTER XII. — Ladies at Dinner. 



.321 



Invitations. 

"Whom to Invite and whom not 
The Lady Receiving 

Guests. 
Order of Precedence. 



Of Proceeding to the Dining- 
room. 

the The Ladies Retire. 

The Ladies in the Drawing- 
I room. 



CHAPTER XIII.— Balls, 

Their Place in Society. 
The Invitations. 
"Whom to Invite. 
The Proper Number. 
The Requisites for a Good 
Ball. 

Arrangement of the Rooms. 

Lighting. 

The Floor. 

The Music. 

Refreshments. 



330 

The Supper. 

Ball-room Etiquette. 

Receiving the Guests. 

Introductions. 

The Invitation to Dance. 

Ball-room Acquaintance. 

Going to Refreshments and 

Supper. 
Manners at Supper. 
Flirtation. 
Public Balls. 



CHAPTER XIV.— Morning and Evening Parties, 346 



" Making a Party." 

Town Parties (Receptions, Pri- 
vate Concerts, Amateur 
Theatricals, Tea-Party, Ma- 
tinees). 



General Rules. 

Country Parties (Evening par- 
ties, Outdoor-parties and Pic- 
nics). 

General Rules. 



10 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XV.- Marriage, 



pagb 
.360 



Offers. 

Engagements. 

Marriage Contracts and Settle- 
ments. 
The License. 
The Trousseau, 
The Bridesmaids. 
Invitations. 



The Lady's Dress. 
The Gentleman's Dress. 
Going to the Church. 
The Ceremony. 
The Breakfast. 
Travelling Dress. 
Fees to Servants. 
Presents, &c. 



CHAPTER XVI.— Presentation at Court 375 



Who is entitled to it ? IThe Lord Chamberlain's Regu- 

Whom to apply to. ' lations. 

Etiquette of the Presence. 



PREFACE. 



I am the Man in the Club-Window. Whicn club and 
•which window? you ask, and is it in Pall-Mall or St. 
James' Street ? I regret that I must decline to satisfy 
your very laudable curiosity. But there are other means 
of doing so : the " clerks" at the army-tailor's, the police- 
man on beat, even the crossing-sweeper a little lower down 
will, I fancy, know whom you mean, if you ask for the 
Man in the Club-Window. 

I feel less delicacy in explaining to you why I sit in the 
club-window, and how I come to have sat there for the 
last ten years. I say " sat," but I may add f< stood," for 
I do vary my position. When day is waning in the west, 
and the passing populace of the streets fails to interest me 
any longer, such moments are the drearier ones of my life. 

I am a bachelor. 

In the year which followed the French Eevolution, I 
was left by a very severe fever, weak, morbid, and inca- 
pable of mixing in any society. I could only support the 
translation from my sick-room to my club. Unable to 
read, unwilling to talk, and still less inclined to take part 
in cards or billiards, my sole amusement was to observe. I 
took in the window a seat, which has since by common 
consent been reserved for me, and there I have sat ever 
since during three months of the year, from three to 
11 



12 



PREFACE. 



seven p.m. throughout the season. My only change has been 
to shift my chair from one side to the other, or to rise to 
get nearer to the pane of glass. A very useless existence, 
you will say. Pardon me. The present work will, I think, 
prove the contrary. 

My prospect has been twofold, that without and that 
within the club. Let me begin with the former. On the 
opposite or non-club side of the street, my view extends to 
the following establishments : — First, there is a fashionable 
hotel at some distance on my right ; next to this are well- 
known dining-rooms, celebrated for their cook, their wines, 
and their prices. The adjoining house is occupied by 
several tenants, the principal of whom is a milliner, who 
holds the highest place in the estimation of the London 
fair, and the execration of their husbands and fathers. The 
next house is that of a well-patronized circulating library, 
certainly more old-fashioned than Mr. Mudie's, but perhaps 
on that very account more a favourite with certain classes. 
Then comes my army-tailor on the ground floor, and above 
him a society for the propagation of something, but whether 
useful knowledge or fish, I am not in a position to state. 
Next to the army-tailor's is a sombre establishment, of 
which from time to time we hear in the newspapers^ as 
yielding a number of so-called " fashionable" young men, 
a green cloth, and a pair of dice-boxes, for the embarrass- 
ment of an intelligent magistrate. Beyond this is another 
sombre mansion, with a large board announcing in the 
season that the " Exhibition of Painters ia Distemper" is 
there held, and beyond the exhibition I have never suc- 
ceeded in penetrating. 

It will be easily understood that establishments of this 
varied character bring visitors of a very various description. 



PEEFACE. 



13 



To the hotel come our country cousins and their boxes ; to 
the dining-rooms the young bachelors from Rotten Row ; to 
the milliner's all the elite of London beauty and fashion ; 
to the library a great number of dowagers and elderly 
females ; to the army-tailor's a few young dandies ; to the 
society for propagation a smaller number of clergymen and 
philanthropists; to the "hell" next to it, various waifs and 
raffs of the worst description; and to the gallery, when 
open, half the society of the West End. 

With such an ebb and flow of life I might have enough 
to occupy my four hours of idleness, but this is not all. 
Between me and these points of attraction there are two 
side-pavements and a very broad road. On the former I 
see specimens from every rank of male life, and the lower 
ranks of the other sex. The wretched urchin who converts 
his .arms and legs into the spokes of a wheel, and thus 
runs by your side, presenting at last his bit of a cap for the 
well-earned halfpenny, has every whit as much interest for 
me as that stately being in a spotless frock-coat and 
double-breasted white waistcoat — Lord Charles Starche, I 
mean — who is stalking from Boodles' to Brookes', and 
thinks that he does the pavement a great honour by the 
pressure of his perfect boot. 

Then in the road, though we are too recherche for omni- 
buses, we have a graduated scale of vehicles, from the 
four-wheeled cab up to the yellow chariot, in which Dowager 
Lady Septuagene is huddled up, while two splendid Mer- 
curies balance themselves behind. There are men of many 
classes in hansoms, broughams, cabriolets, and curricles, and 
ladies passing to St. James' in barouches and chariots. 

What I see, indeed, is what any one may see in the 
streets of London, but I see it all calmly ; and having nothing 



14 



PREFACE. 



else to do, I observe in these ordinary outlines details 
which would escape many others. Indeed, I have arrived 
at that perfection of observation, that at one glance I can 
fix the class to which a passer-by belongs, and at a second 
can tell you whether he or she is an ornament or a dis- 
grace to it. 

I must not tell you much of what I see and hear when 
I turn round. My club was once one of the best in Lon- 
don, but I regret to say it has sadly deteriorated, so much 
so that when I have finished my studies I shall have to 
seek another window elsewhere. A number of men have 
crept into it somehow who ought not to be there. For 
instance there is Glanderson, who, though he belongs to a 
good and old family, is nothing more or less than a horse- 
dealer. He vacillates between this and TattersalTs. He 
comes in from horses, and he goes out to horses. I 
need not add that he eats, drinks, dresses, and in short 
lives by horses. Now a horse-dealer may be an excellent 
man, but if Ipe thinks nothing but horses, he cannot be 
good society. Glanderson thinks horses. If there is a 
rumour of war he has nothing to say about it, except that 
horse-flesh will rise in price. If there is to be a great 
political movement in a day or two, he only laments that 
it will interfere with the " Two Thousand." 

Then again there is Trickington, who is simply a card- 
sharper. It is no matter that his uncle is an earl, and his 
brother a Member ; Trickington would be sent to the tread- 
mill if he practised in a railway carriage what he does here. 
If these men were away I should not complain of young 
Moulder, whose father made a fortune by patent candles ; 
for Moulder has been to Eton and Cambridge, and is at 
least modest. 



PREFACE. 



15 



I am an old bachelor, and have passed a varied life. I 
have seen and mixed at different times in many grades of 
society. I have seen hundreds of vulgar, and thousands of 
ill-bred people. I have lived in the unenviable atmosphere 
of foreign courts, and in the narrow circles of country 
villages. As I have sought for good rather than high 
society, I have freely disregarded position, and entered 
where I thought I might find it. I have often been driven 
back by disgust and disappointment, but sometimes gone 
to laugh and stayed to enjoy. With this experience I sat 
down in my club-window, and ruminated on men and 
manners, classes and company, society and solecisms. In 
watching from my club-window, I have asked myself, 
" What makes that man a gentleman, and the other who is 
passing him a snob V* and I have passed on to theorize on 
good-breeding. 

Confess, then, that it is magnanimous in me to submit 
the result of my long cogitations to the critical eye of the 
public. I have a fancy that any one might be a gentleman 
if he could watch himself, as I watch him from my club- 
window. I have often longed to cry out to a man : " In 
the name of good taste, do give up that habit, take off that 
coat, or alter that walk." I have often longed to turn 
Turveydrop, and lecture these people on their manners. 
It is positively painful to me to see a man who aspires to 
the name and position of " gentleman," going so very bad 
a way to become one. I feel convinced that if everybody 
was well-bred, this world would be far better and far 
happier. But as I could not cry across the street all day 
long, and should perhaps do little good if I were to do so, 
I have had recourse to the printer. But I had not sat 
down to my foolscap when a thought of horror rose before 



16 



PREFACE. 



my mind. If I, a man, were rash enough to discourse to 
Crinoline, what a hail of scornful words should I bring 
down on my head ! I therefore bethought me of a derice, 
and rushing off laid all my plan before a lady, of whose 
judgment in these matters I had the highest opinion, and 
besought her to assist me. To this excellent and charming 
person I have now the pleasure to introduce you, that she 
may speak for herself as to the share she has taken in this 
work. If this little book should really improve you, my 
dear reader, I beg you to take an early opportunity of 
walking, riding, or driving down this street, and you will 
soon see from my look and smile how great is the satisfac- 
tion of 

The Man in the Club-Window. 



THE LADY'S PREFACE. 



iose suggestions which apply peculiarly to the gentler 
rtion of the community differ, in many details, from the 
vice and rules necessary to be impressed upon the Lords 
Creation. 

" The Habits of Good Society," as referring to ladies, 
3 here, therefore, treated by " one of themselves." 
It is true that certain maxims of politeness, and regula- 
ns which are thought to refine and improve the manners 

good society, concern both sexes equally. There are, 
pertheless, many niceties in conduct, variations in habits, 
i delicacies of feeling so peculiarly feminine, that the 
diest pen of the most observant bachelor, how alive 
iver he may be to all that should form perfection in the 
: whom he adores in dim perspective, can scarcely com- 
ss. Even the carefully- turned sentences of an experienced 
lower would not comprise those details with which a lady 
familiar ; whilst a married man might be apt to make 

model wife the standard of deportment, and thus to copy 
i style of manners alone. 

Men may discriminate and criticise, but woman can alone 
Druct woman in her every- day habits and conduct, as, 

trust, may be demonstrated in the course of the follow- 

recommendations from 

A Matkon. 



c 



THE HABITS OF GOOD SOCIETY. 



THOUGHTS ON SOCIETY, 
AND THE SPIEIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

A sermon and a book of etiquette have been taken as 
the antipodes of literature. Most erroneously ! The one is 
a necessary appendix to the other ; and the missionary of 
the South Sea Islands would tell you that it is useless to 
teach the savage religion without the addition of a few 
rules of courtesy. On manners, refinement, rules of good 
breeding, and even the forms of etiquette, we are for ever 
talking, judging our neighbours severely by the breach of 
traditionary and unwritten laws, and choosing our society 
and even our friends by the touchstone of courtesy. We are 
taught manners before religion ; our nurses and our parents 
preach their lay sermons upon them long before they open for 
us the Bible and the Catechism ; our dominies flog into us 
Greek verbs and English behaviour with the same cane ; 
and Eton and Oxford declare with pride, that however 
little they may teach their frequenters, they at least turn 
them out gentlemen. Nay, we keep a grand state official, 
with a high salary, for no other purposes than to preserve 
the formal etiquette of the Court, and to issue from time 
to time a series of occasional services in which the minutest 
19 



20 



THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 



laws of courtly behaviour are codified with majestic so- 
lemnity. 

Yet with all this and much more deference which we 
show now to manners in general, now to the arbitrary laws 
of etiquette which seem to have no object but exclusiveness, 
we are always ready to raise a titter at the attempt to 
reduce the former to a system, or codify the latter for the 
sake of convenience. The polished affect to despise the 
book of etiquette as unnecessary, forgetting that, in the 
present day, the circles of good society are growing wider 
and wider, admitting repeatedly, and more than ever, men 
who have risen from the cottage or the workshop, and have 
had neither their training nor their experience. What if 
railway kings and mushroom millionaires had studied their 
grammars and manner-books in the respites from business, 
would the noble lords, who, with their wives and daughters, 
condescended, nay, were proud, to dine with the quondam 
shop -boy and mechanic, have thus been sneered at by the 
middle classes for a worship of gold, which could induce 
them to put up with gross vulgarity, and for a respect for 
success which could allow the greatest sticklers for etiquette 
to endure its repeated neglect 1 Surely it is in the interest 
of future premiers and noble members of council, that J ohn 
Smith should know how to behave before they visit him ; 
and how can he possibly learn it without either a tutor, a 
book, or experience in society ? 

The first is undoubtedly the best medium ; and we 
constantly find the sons of mannerless millionaires tutored 
into the habits of good society, but at the same time it is 
a course which demands youth, time, and the absence of 
business occupations ; but everybody, at first sight, agrees 
that experience in society is the only good way to acquire 



THE CHAPLAIN AND THE NUNCIO. 



21 



the polish it demands. True, maybe ; but if it demands 
that polish in you, how will it take you without it 1 How 
can you obtain the entree into good society, when, on the 
very threshold, you are found deficient in its first rules % 
How, if you succeed in pushing your way into sets which you 
believe to constitute good society, can you be sure that they 
will tolerate you there till you have learned your lesson, 
which is not one to be known in a day 1 Your failure, indeed, 
may be painful, and end in your ejectment for ever from 
the circles you have taken so much trouble to press into. 

I remember an instance of such a failure which occurred 
many years ago in a distant European capital. The Eng- 
lish residents had long been without a chaplain, and the 
arrival of an English clergyman was hailed with such en- 
thusiasm that a deputation at once attended on him and 
offered him the post, which he accepted. We soon found 
that our course was a mistaken one. Slovenly in his dress, 
dirty in his habits, and quite ignorant of the commonest 
rules of politeness, our new chaplain would have brought 
little credit to the English hierarchy even had his manners 
been retiring and unobtrusive. They were precisely the 
reverse. By dint of cringing, flattery, and a readiness to 
serve in no matter what undertaking, he pushed himself, 
by virtue of his new position, into some of the highest 
circles. One evening it happened that the new chaplain 
and the Pope's nuncio were both at the same evening party. 
The pontifical legate went out but little, and the lady of 
the house had used great exertions to procure his presence. 
The contrast between the representatives of the two Churches 
was trying for us. The cardinal, grave, dignified, and courtly, 
received the advances of those who were introduced to him 
as his due. The chaplain, in a frayed and dirty shirt, with 



22 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

holes in his boots and ill-combed hair, was sneaking up to 
the grandees and doing his best to gain their attention by- 
smiles and flattery. He had heard somewhere that no in- 
troductions were needed In Continental salons, and you can 
imagine our surprise when we saw him slide sideways up 
to the red-stockinged nuncio, tap him familiarly on the 
shoulder, and with a full grin exclaim, " Well, my Lord, 
how did you leave the Pope 1 ?" The cardinal bowed and 
smiled, but could not conceal his astonishment. The fa- 
miliarity was not indeed a crime, but it proved that the 
offender was not fit for the society into which he had 
pushed himself ; and the legate, glad to have a story against 
the Protestants, made the most of it, and repeated it until 
the new chaplain found his entree to the drawing-rooms of 
the great was generally cancelled. 

Useful or not useful, it would seem that codes of manners 
are thought ridiculous. If the farce-writer wants to intro- 
duce a thoroughly credulous country girl, he makes her 
carry a little book of etiquette under her fan into the ball- 
room-; and if the heavy-headed essayists of a Quarterly 
want a light subject to relieve the tedium of their trimes- 
trial lucubrations, it is almost sure to be the vade mecums 
of etiquette which come in for their satire. Poor indeed, 
and reduced in honour as well as capital, must be the man 
of letters, they tell you, who will condescend to write on 
the angle of a bow, or the punctilio of an insult ; forgetting 
that these are but some of the details which go to make an 
important whole, and that we might as honestly sneer at 
the antiquarian who revels in a dirty coin of the size of a 
farthing, or the geologist who fills his pockets with chips of 
ugly stone. However, the sneer is raised, and it is our duty 
to speak of it. 



THE HIGHEST AUTHORITIES ON THE SUBJECT. 23 

There remain, then, three reasons for holding works of 
this sort in disrepute : either manners themselves are con- 
temptible, or they are not a subject worthy of the consider- 
ation of the wise and great ; or the books of etiquette 
themselves are ridiculous in their treatment of the subject. 

The value of manners is to be the main theme of this 
introduction ; as regards their value as a subject, I can only 
point to those who have discoursed or written upon them, 
and I think it may be affirmed that few moral teachers have 
not touched on the kindred subject. Indeed the true spirit 
of good manners is so nearly allied to that of good morals, 
that it is scarcely possible to avoid doing so. Our Saviour 
himself has taught us that modesty is the true spirit of 
decent behaviour, and was not ashamed to notice and rebuke 
the forward manners of his fellow-guests in taking the upper 
seats at banquets, while he has chosen the etiquettes of 
marriage as illustrations in several of his parables. Even in 
speaking of the scrupulous habits of the Pharisees, he did 
not condemn their cleanliness itself, but the folly which 
attached so much value to mere form. He conformed him- 
self to those habits, and in the washing of feet at meals, 
drew a practical lesson of beautiful humility. His greatest 
follower has left us many injunctions to gentleness and 
courteousness of manner, and fine passages on women's dress, 
which should be painted over every lady's toilet-table in the 
kingdom. 

As to the philosophers, who are anything but men of good 
manners themselves, there are few who have not taught 
behaviour more or less. To say nothing of the ugly but 
agreeable old gentleman, Socrates, who went about the city 
asking as many questions as a counsel for the defendant 
in a case of circumstantial evidence, we have his pupil's 



24 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

pupil Aristotle, whose ethics the Oxford boys are taught to 
look upon as next in wisdom to the Bible, and truer than 
any similar work. We are convinced that the greater part 
of the ethics might be turned into a " Guide to the Com- 
plete Gentleman." In fact the Stagyrite's morals are social 
ones j the morals that fit a man to shine in the agora and 
the academy. He has raised the peculiar behaviour of the 
kglXos K<iya$bs dvrjp — alias " gentleman" — to his equals, 
betters, and inferiors, into one of the cardinal virtues, and 
has given us, besides, several chapters on wit and conversa- 
tion, intimacies, and the proper carriage of a good citizen 
in society. 

But to look nearer home, Lord Bacon himself has devoted 
an essay to manners, and reminds us that as a precious stone 
must be of very high value to do without a setting, a man 
must be a very great one to dispense with social observances ; 
and probably Johnson thought himself one of these unset 
gems, when he made such speeches as, " Sir, you're a fool 
or at Aberdeen, " Yes, sir, Scotland is what I expected ; I 
expected a savage country, and savage people, and I have 
found them." 

But why multiply instances 1 If we look to the satirists 
of all ages, we find that manners as well as morals came 
under their lash, and many taught by ridicule what we do 
by precept. Horace, the Spectator, and Thackeray expose 
the vulgarities and affectations of society ; and the finest wit 
of his day, Chesterfield, is the patron saint of the writers 
on Behaviour. 

We have, therefore, no lack of precedent ; but it is cer- 
tainly true that too often the office of a teacher of manners 
has been assumed by retired Turveydrops, and genteel 
masters of ceremonies, and the laugh that is raised at their 



False motives for politeness. 



25 



hints on propriety is not always without excuse. It would 
be very bad manners in me to criticise the works of former 
writers on this subject, and thus put forward my own as 
the ne plus ultra of perfection. I confess, indeed, that I 
can never aspire to the delicacy and apparently universal 
acquirements of some of these genteel persons. If I can tell 
you how to entertain your guests, I cannot furnish a list of 
cartes for dinners, like the author of the Art of Dining. If 
I can tell you how to dance with propriety, I must despair 
of describing the Terpsichorean inventions of a D'Egville or 
a Delplanque, or of giving directions for the intricate evo- 
lutions of one hundred and one dances, of which in the 
present day not a dozen are ever performed. 

I may, however, be permitted to point out that too many 
of my predecessors have acted on a wrong principle. I 
have before me at least a dozen books treating of etiquette 
of different dates, and I find that one and all, including 
Chesterfield, state the motive for politeness to be either the 
desire to shine, or the wish to raise one's-self into society 
supposed to be better than one's own. One of the best begins 
by defining Etiquette as "a shield against the intrusion of 
the impertinent, the improper, and the vulgar another 
tells us that the circles which protect themselves with this 
shield must be the object of our attack, and that a know- 
ledge of etiquette will secure us the victory ; others of higher 
character confound good with high society, and as a matter 
of course declare birth, rank, or distinction as its first requi- 
sites. All of them make it appear that the cultivation of 
manners is not a social duty, but merely a means to the 
gratification of personal vanity, and on this account they 
must all appear ridiculous to the man of sense. 

Good society is undoubtedly a most desirable accompa* 
D 



26 



THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 



niment of the business of life, and with some people it even 
takes the place of that business itself ; but if the reader 
imagines that he is to put his book of etiquette into his 
pocket, and, quitting his old friends and acquaintance with 
disgust, to push himself into sets for which perhaps his 
position itself does not qualify him, he is much mistaken as 
to the object of cultivating the habits of good society. His 
proper objects are these : to make himself better in every 
respect than he is-; to render himself agreeable to every 
one with whom he has to do ; and to improve, if necessary, 
the society in which he is placed. If he can do this, he 
will not want good society long. It is in the power of 
every man to create it for himself. An agreeable and 
polished person attracts like light, and every kind of society 
which is worth entering will soon and easily open its doors 
to him, and be glad to have him in its circle. Exclusive- 
ness is often a proof of innate vulgarity, and the tests 
applied by the exclusive are generally position, birth, name, 
or peculiarity, rarely indeed individual merit. ; Wherever 
these limitations- are drawn, you may be confident of a 
deficiency in the drawers. My Lady A—, who will have 
no one under the rank of baronet at her house, can scarcely 
appreciate the wide diffusion of wit and intelligence among 
the untitled. Mr. B — , who invites none but literary men 
to his, must be incapable of enjoying the accomplishments 
and general knowledge of men of the world. And then, too, 
it is so easy to be exclusive, if you are content to be dull. 
My University tailor had a daughter, whose dower he 
announced as £30,000, and he gave out that none but a 
gold-tassel should be allowed to cultivate her acquaintance. 
But the young noblemen never came, and the damsel piued 
for a couple of years. The father widened the bounds, and 



EXCLUSIVE SETS. 



27 



gentlemen-commoners were admitted, but still the maiden 
was unwooed. In another three years the suffrage was 
extended to all members of Christ Church. There may- 
have been wooers now, but no winners. Five years more 
and the maiden still sat at her window unclaimed. For 
another five years the ninth part of a man held out reso- 
lutely, but by that time youth was gone, and the daughter 
so long a prisoner was glad to accept the hand of an aspir- 
ing cheesemonger. 

But the tailor's vulgarity was no greater than that of all 
exclusive sets, who " draw the line" which preserves the 
purity of their magic circle, with a measure of rank, wealth, 
or position, rather than the higher recommendations of 
agreeable manners, social talents, and elevated character. 
The dulness of the coteries of the Faubourg St. Germain is 
equalled in this country only by that of certain sets to be 
found in most watering-places. A decrepit old lady or 
gentleman, long retired from fashionable and public life, is 
always to be found in these localities. Surrounded by a 
small knot of worshippers, he or she is distinguished by a 
title, a faultless wig, and a great love of whist, and the play- 
ful sallies of "my lord" and "my lady" are hailed as 
splendid wit, or their petulant tempers endured with affec- 
tionate submission. How much Christianity does a nook 
in the peerage encourage ! What a pity there is not a retired 
nobleman in every set of society, to put our forbearance to 
a perpetual trial, call forth our broadest charity, and train 
us at the whist-table to lose our guineas, and not our 
temper ! 

Exclusive society, whether the passport for admittance 
be of rank, birth, wealth, fashion, or even more meritorious 
distinctions, is not often agreeable society, and not neces- 



28 



THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 



sarily good. The question at once arises : What is good 
society? and we proceed to answer it, beginning with an 
attempt to define society itself. 

When the ex-King Ludwig of Bavaria stops, as we have 
seen him do, to exchange a hearty word with a crossing- 
sweeper, one of a class which the misnamed " First Gen- 
tleman of Europe," while returning punctiliously the marks 
of respect shown him by every man that he passed, thought 
it beneath the dignity of a monarch to notice, no one would 
think of impeaching the sovereign of a love of low society. 
If, again, a country gentleman chats with his gamekeeper 
as they come from the fields together, he will, perhaps, tell 
you that he has enjoyed the honest fellow's " society," but 
it will be in the tone of a joke. Not so, however, the candi- 
date for the borough, who begs the influential haberdasher 
he is canvassing, to introduce him to his wife and daughters, 
whose society "he is most anxious to cultivate." He is 
quite aware that equality is the first essential of society, and 
that where it does not exist in reality, it must do so in 
appearance. 

Nor is mere equality of position sufficient. It seems to 
be a rule in the intercourse of men, that the employer 
should rank above the employed, and the transaction of 
business suspends equality for a time. There is no society 
between a gentleman and his solicitor or physician, in an 
official visit, and though both hold the same rank, the pro- 
fessional man would never, unless further advances were made, 
presume on the official acquaintance to consider himself a 
member of his patient's or client's circle. 

Society is, therefore, the intercourse of persons on a foot- 
ing of equality, real or apparent. But it is more than this. 
The two thoroughly English gentlemen who, travelling for 



WHAT IS SOCIETY 1 



29 



two hundred miles in the same railway carriage, ensconce 
themselves behind their newspapers or shilling novels, 
exchanging no more than a sentence when the one treads 
upon the other's favourite bunion, cannot, in the widest 
sense of the phrase, be said to enjoy each other's society. 
The intercourse must be both active and friendly. Man is 
a gregarious animal ; but while other animals herd together, 
for the purpose of mutual protection, or common under- 
takings, men appear to form the only kind who assemble 
for that of mutual entertainment and improvement. But 
in society properly so called, this entertainment must 
address the higher part of man. Never was philosopher 
more justly put down for narrowness of mind than Plato 
was by Diogenes. The polished Athenian had the rash- 
ness to define man as a biped without feathers. The ill- 
mannered but sensible philosopher of the tub plucked a 
cock and labelled it, " Plato's Man/' Man is not wholly 
man without his mind, and a game of cricket in which men 
assemble for mutual entertainment or improvement is not 
society, since it is the body not the mind which is brought 
into action. 

Indeed we hear people talk of round games being so- 
ciable, and it is certain that in most of those which are 
played in a drawing-room, the mind is made to work as well 
as the fingers ; but while such games undoubtedly excite 
sociality with people too shy or too stupid to talk, and be 
at ease without their assistance, we must beware of con- 
founding them with sociability itself. The mutual enter- 
tainment of the mind must be immediate in society. In 
chess and even in whist, the mental working is keen, and 
the action is decidedly mutual, if we may not rather say, 
antagonistic, but no one would think of saying that he had 



30 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

enjoyed Mr. Morphy's society, "because he was one of 
his eight opponents in a chess tournament, and none but 
doting dowagers would presume to talk of the * society" 
of the whist-table. The intercourse must be direct from 
mind to mind. 

Social intercourse is, in fact, the consequence of a neces- 
sity felt by men and women for new channels of thought, 
and new impulses of feeling. "We read books, and we go 
to the play for the very same purpose ; but that which consti- 
tutes the superior charm of society over these relaxations is 
its variety and uncertainty. The guest could never have 
sat through the Barmecide's feast, if he had not expected 
that each succeeding cover would reveal a dainty entremets 
to make up for the shadowy character of the joints and 
Ivors d'oeuvres, and not even an old maid of fifty could con- 
tinue to attend those dreary evening parties at the vicar's, 
or those solemn dinners at the hall, if she did not look 
forward to meeting some new guest, or at least having 
some new idea struck into her. 

I have always doubted whether Boswell had not as great 
mental capacities of their kind as Johnson. It requires 
either a profound mind or a cold heart to feel no necessity 
for social intercourse. Bozzy had not the latter. Had he 
the former ? As the great mind can content itself with its 
own reflections, stimulated at most by the printed thoughts 
of others, so it carries in itself its power of varying what it 
takes in, and scorns to look for variety from withoiit. Most 
deep thinkers have had one pet book, which they have read, 
one bosom-friend whom they have studied, in a thousand 
different lights according to the variety which their own 
nervous mind would suggest. Had Boswell been an ordi- 
nary man, would he not have wearied of the Doctor's perpe- 



MENTAL INTERCOURSE NECESSARY. 



31 



tual sameness, of his set answers and anticipated rebuffs 1 
Lovers weary of one another's minds, and the cleverest 
people are incapable of enduring a tete-<X-tete for three weeks 
at a time, and was Boswell more than a lover % 

" Lean not on one mind constantly, 

Lest where one stood before, two fall. 
Something God hath to say to thee 
Worth hearing from the lips of all."* 

And it is this feeling which impels men. of good sense and 
ordinary minds to seek acquaintance as well as friends, 
which makes me happy to talk sometimes to the ploughman 
coming from the field, to the policeman hanging about his 
beat, even to the thief whose hand I have caught in my 
pocket. Could I have a professional pickpocket in my grasp 
and not seize the rare opportunity of discovering what view 
a thief takes of life, of right and wrong, honour, even man- 
ners and the habits of good society 1 You may be sure he 
has something to tell me on all these points, and for a while 
I might profit from even his society ; though, as equality 
is necessary, I should for the time have to let myself down 
to his level, which is scarcely desirable. 

I have said that there are some minds, universal enough 
in themselves to feel no need of society. To such, solitude 
is society— of thought. To such the prison-cell is but little 
trial. Raleigh was as great in the Tower as out of it, and 
Michael Angelo desired only to sit for days gazing upon, 
ay, and communing, with the grand men and wondrous 
scenes which he found in his own brain. 

Other minds again are content with a little society, but 
it is the weakest class that can never do without it. It will 



* Owen Meredith. 



32 THE SPIRIT OE SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

not be difficult to show that the wits and beaux who have 
lived for society only, were men whom no one need aspire 
to rival. 

I draw this distinction in order that hereafter I may 
speak more freely of conversation in general society ; but 
it must not be thought, by a converse conclusion, that every 
common frequenter of society is but a poor-minded being. 
Socrates and Shakspere, who lived continually with their 
fellow-creatures, would not thank you for such an inference, 
and the cleverest men are often the most sociable ; though, 
as La Rochefoucault says,/" In conversation confidence has 
a greater share than wit.T 

Chesterfield says, "Tnere are two sorts of good com- 
pany j one which is called the beau-monde, and consists 
of those people who have the lead in courts, and in the 
gay part of life ; the other consists of those who are dis- 
tinguished by some peculiar merit, or who excel in some 
particular and valuable art or science." If this were not 
the opinion of my patron saint, I should maintain that the 
writer knew not what good company was. But in truth 
in the days of Philip Dormer Stanhope there was little 
option but between wealth, rank, and fashion, on the one 
hand, and wit and learning on the other ; and his Lordship 
cannot be blamed for writing thus in the beginning of the 
eighteenth century, when the middle classes had not learnt 
manners, if a century later Mr. Hayward, who undertakes 
to write down books of etiquette, tells us that "rank, 
wealth, and distinction of some sort," are the elements of 
success in society. 

If the opinion of a man who for twelve years laboured 
to make a graceful gentleman of his son, and, though he 
failed to do so, certainly thought and wrote more on the 



BAD MORALS AND BAD SOCIETY. 



33 



manners of good society than any man before and since, is 
not to be taken as a maxim, I must be allowed some hesi- 
tation in putting forward a definition. As Chesterfield 
himself says, bad company is much more easily defined than 
good. Let us begin with the bad, then, and see to what it 
brings us. 

Beau Brummell broke off an engagement with a young 
lady because he once saw her eat cabbage. " Over-nice 
people," says Dean Swift, " have sometimes very nasty 
ideas." But George the Less evidently thought the young 
lady in question was very bad company. To define exactly 
where bad manners begin is not easy, but there is no doubt 
that no society is good in which they are found ; and this 
book will have been written in vain, if the reader after 
studying it is unable to distinguish between bad and good 
behaviour. In the present day neither Brummell nor his 
" fat friend," the " greatest gentleman in Europe," would 
be tolerated in good society. The code of morals is clearly 
written, whatever may be the traditionary code of manners, 
and we may at once lay down as a rule, that where morals 
are openly bad, society must be bad. The badness of 
morals is soon detected. We may indeed meet in a London 
ball-room a score of young men, whose manners are as 
spotless as their shirt-fronts, and fail to discover from 
their carriage and conversation that one requires assistance 
to undress every third night, another is supported by 
Hebrews in gambling away his reversionary property, and 
a third, without Shelley's genius, shares his opinions as 
to the uselessness of matrimonial vows. But let us pursue 
their acquaintance, and we shall soon learn from the tone 
of their conversation what is the tenor of their lives. 

Bad society, then, may be divided into three classes : 
E 



34 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

1. That in which both morals and manners are bad ; 

2. That in which the manners are bad, be the morals 
what they will ; 3. That in which the manners appear to 
be good, but the morals are detestable. The first is low, 
the second vulgar, the third dangerous society. 

Few people but undergraduates, young ensigns, and as- 
piring clerks and shop-boys, will need to be warned against 
low society. Where vice wears no veil, and decency for 
ever blushes, the man of any self-respect, to say nothing of 
taste and education, will speedily be disgusted. The first 
proof of lowness is seen at once in undue familiarity. If 
there are women in company, you will at once discover 
their character from the manner in which they allow them- 
selves to be addressed ; but if not, you will doubtless ere 
long be yourself subjected to a freedom of treatment, which 
you will readily distinguish from ease of manner, and know 
to be beyond the proper limits. Familiarity, on first intro- 
duction, is always of bad style, often even vulgar, and, 
when used by the openly immoral, is low and revolting. 
A man of self- respect will not be pleased with it even when 
it comes from the most respectable, or his superiors ; he 
will despise it in his equals, and will take it almost as an 
insult from those who do not respect themselves. If Brum- 
mell really had the impudence to say to his patron prince, 
" "Wales, ring the bell !" we cannot blame the corpulent 
George for ordering the Beau's carriage when the servant 
appeared. We can only wonder that he did not take warn- 
ing by his favourite's presumption to separate himself from 
the rest of his debauched hangers-on, when he found that 
respect for the Prince was swamped in contempt for the 
profligate. 

This is a good opportunity for introducing a few words 



INSTANCES OP FAMILIAKITY. 



35 



on the subject of familiarity, which, writing as an English- 
man, we may at once lay down as incompatible with good 
society. " You are a race of pokers !" say the French. 
" You are a race of puppies !" replies the inassailable Eng- 
lishman ; and certainly there is nothing more sublimely 
ridiculous than the British lion shaking his mane and mut- 
tering a growl when the Continental poodle asks him, in a 
friendly manner, to shake his paw. Dignity has its limits 
as well as ease, and dignity is extravagant in Spain and 
often melodramatic in England. Charles I. never laughed, 
and his cotemporary, Philip of Spain, never smiled. But 
it must not be supposed that the English have always been 
as dignified as the modern towers bristling with cannon, 
and bearing the motto, " Noli me tangere," who are seen 
moving in Pall-Mail in the afternoon. Stiffness perhaps 
came in with Brummell's starched cravat, a yard in height, 
which took him a quarter of an hour to crease down to 
that of his neck. In the reigns of the Tudors, familiarity 
was the order of the day at the Court. There was nothing 
shocking in Bluff Harry stretching his huge gouty leg upon 
Catherine Parr's lap ; and Queen Elizabeth thought herself 
only witty when to Sir Eoger Williams, presenting a petition 
which she disliked, she exclaimed, " Williams, how your 
boots stink !" " Tut, madame," replied the Welshman, 
" it is my suit, not my boots which stink." In Ben Jon- 
son's day it was the height of gallantry to clmck a lady 
under the chin, and make a not very refined compliment to 
her rosy lips. Even the cavaliers of Charles' court had a 
freedom of speech and manner which disgusted the Puri- 
tans ; and, if Milton's report be true, the sovereign that 
never laughed saw no harm in making indelicate remarks 
before, if not to, the Queen's ladies. But the most curious 



30 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSEKVANCES. 

instances of familiarity, mistaken for wit, are to be found 
in the reigns of William m. and Anne. When Bath was 
the most fashionable spot in the kingdom, and Beau Nash 
the most fashionable man in Bath, the following speeches, 
interlarded with oaths, were his most fashionable mots : — 

A lady afflicted with a curvature of the spine, once told 
him that she had that day come straight from London. 
" Straight, madame !" replied the magnificent master of the 
ceremonies, " then you've been horribly warped by the way." 
When, on another occasion, a gentleman appeared at an 
assembly in boots, which Nash had interdicted, he called 
out to him, " Hollo ! Hogs Norton, haven't you forgot to 
bring your horse ?" He was well put down, however, by a 
young lady, whom he once met walking with a spaniel be- 
hind her. " Please, madame," asked the Beau, " can you 
tell me the name of Tobit's dog ?" " Yes, sir," answered 
the damsel ; "his name is Nash, and a very impudent dog 
he is, too." 

Familiarity arises either from an excess of friendliness or 
a deficiency of respect. The latter is never pardonable. 
We cannot consider that man well-bred who shows no 
respect for the position, feelings, or even prejudices of 
others. The youth who addresses his father as " governor," 
or " come now, paymaster," is almost as blamable as the 
man who stares at my club-foot, or, because I have a very 
dark complexion, asks me at first sight when I left India. 
Still more reprehensible should I be if I exclaimed to a 
stout lady, " How warm you look !" asked Mr. Spurgeon 
if he had been to many balls lately ; inquired after the 
wife and family of a Romish priest, or begged the Dean of 
Carlisle to tell me the odds on the Derby. 

Worse, again, is the familiarity which arises from na- 



KESPECT TO THE SEX. 



37 



tural coarseness, and which becomes most prominent in the 
society of elderly men, or where ladies are present. The 
demeanour of youth to age should always be respectful ; 
that of man to woman should approach even reverence. 

" To thee be all men heroes ; every race 
Noble ; all women virgins ; and each place 
A temple." 

And certainly it is better and more comfortable to believe 
in the worth of all, than by contempt and boldness to leave 
the impression of impudence and impropriety. It should 
be the boast of every man that he had never put modesty 
to the blush, nor encouraged immodesty to remove Iter 
mask. But we fear there is far too little chivalry in the 
present day. If young men do not chuck their partners 
under the chin, they are often guilty of pressing their hands 
when the dance affords an opportunity. There is a calm dig- 
nity with which to show that the offence has been noticed, but 
if a lady condescends to reprove it in words, she forces the 
culprit to defend himself, and often ends by making the 
breach worse. On the other hand, let a woman once over- 
look the slightest familiarity, and fail to show her surprise 
in her manner, and she can never be certain that it will not 
be repeated. There are few actions so atrociously familiar 
as a wink. I would rather kiss a lady outright than wink 
or leer at her, for that silent movement seems to imply a 
secret understanding which may be interpreted in any way 
you like. Even between men a wink should be avoided, 
however intimate the terms between you, since it seems to 
keep the rest of the company in the dark, and is perhaps 
worse than whispering. 

We often hear people complain of the necessity of 
" company manners." As a general rule such people must 



38 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

be by nature coarse. A well-bred man has always the same 
manners at home and in society, and what is bad in the 
former, is only worse in the latter. It can never be par- 
donable to swagger and lounge, nor to carry into even the 
family circle the actions proper to the dressing-room. Even 
where familiarity has nothing shocking in itself, it attacks 
the respect due to the society of others, whoever they may 
be, and presents the danger of a further breach of it. From 
familiarity to indecency is but one step. Thus no part of 
the dress, not a shoe-string even, should be arranged in the 
presence of ladies. The Hindus, remarkable for the delicacy 
of their manners, would not allow kissing, scratching, pinch- 
ing, or lying down to be represented on the stage, and at 
least the last three should never be permitted in a mixed 
society of men and women. There are attitudes too, which 
are a transition from ease to familiarity, and should never 
be indulged. A man may cross his legs in the present day, 
but should never stretch them apart. To wipe the forehead, 
gape, yawn, and so forth, are only a shade less obnoxious 
than the American habit of expectoration. I shall have 
more to say on this subject, and must now pass to another. 

Familiarity must be condemned or pardoned according to 
the motive that suggests it. Not unfrequently it arises 
from over-friendliness or even shyness, and must then be 
gently and kindly repressed. As for shyness, which is par 
excellence the great obstacle to ease in English society, I, for 
my part, think it infinitely preferable to forwardness. It 
calls forth our kindest and best feelings, utterly disarms the 
least considerate of us, and somewhat endears us to the 
sufferer. Yet so completely is it at variance with the spirit 
of society, that in France it is looked on as a sin ; and 
children are brought forward as much as possible that they 



SHYNESS. 



39 



may early get rid of it, the consequence of which is, that a 
French boy from his college is one of the most obnoxious of 
his race, while you cannot help feeling that the extreme 
diffidence of the debutante is merely assumed in obedience 
to chere maman. Give me a boy that blushes when you 
speak to him, and a girl, under seventeen, who looks down 
because she dares not look up. On the other hand, shyness 
is -trying and troublesome in young people of full age, though 
a little of it is always becoming on first acquaintance ; while 
in middle-aged people it is scarcely pardonable. 

To the young, therefore, who are entering into society, I 
would say, Never be ashamed of your shyness, since, however 
painful it may be to you, it is far less disagreeable to others 
than the attempt to conceal it by familiarity. 

The only way to treat familiarity arising from shyness is 
not to notice it, but encourage the offender till you have 
given him or her confidence. It is a kindness as much to 
yourself as to the sufferer from shyness, to introduce merry 
subjects, to let fly a little friendly badinage at him, until 
he thinks that you are deceived by his assumed manner, 
and, no longer afraid of being thought nervous, really gets 
rid of the chief cause of that feeling. 

When Brummell was asked by a lady whom he scarcely 
knew, to come and " take tea" with her, the Beau replied, 
" Madame, you take a walk, and you take a liberty, but 
you drink tea." It was only one of those many speeches 
of the Beau's, which prove that a man may devote his whole 
life to the study of manner and appearance, and, without 
good feeling to back them up, not be a gentleman. The 
lady undoubtedly did take a liberty, but the would-be gen- 
tleman took a greater in correcting her idiom. The lady 
erred from a silly admiration of the ex-model of fashion ; 



40 



THE SPIRIT OP SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 



the broken bean erred from excessive conceit, and an utter 
want of heart. Let the reader judge between the two. If 
the object of politeness is to insure harmony to society, and 
set every one at his ease, it is as necessary to good manners 
to receive a well-meant familiarity in a like spirit, as it is to 
check one which arises from coarseness. 

On the Continent, where diffidence is unknown, and to 
be friendly is the first object, we find a freedom of manners 
which in England we should call familiarity. Let a man 
be of no matter what station, he has there a right to speak 
to his fellow-man, if good him seems, and certainly the 
barrier which we English raise up between classes savours 
very little of Christianity. What harm can it do me, who 
call myself gentleman, if a horny-handed workman, waiting 
for the same train as myself, comes up and says, "It is a fine 
day, sir," evincing a desire for a further interchange of ideas ; 
am I the more a gentleman because I cut him short with a 
" Yes," and turn away ; or because, as many people do, I 
stare him rudely in the face, and vouchsafe no answer ? 
" Something God hath to say to thee worth hearing from 
the lips of all," and I may be sure that I shall learn some- 
thing from him, if I talk to him in a friendly manner, 
while, if I am really a gentleman, his society can do me no 
harm. 

But of course there is a limit to be fixed. Englishmen 
respect nothing so much as their purses and their private 
affairs, and in England you might as well ask a stranger for 
five pounds as inquire what he was travelling for, what his 
income was, or what were the names of his six children. 
But England is an exception in this case, and a foreigner 
believes that he does himself no harm by telling you his 
family history at first sight. While, therefore, it is a gross 



TAKIKG A LIBERTY. 



impertinence in this country to put curious questions to a 
person of whom you know little, while it is reserved for the 
closest intimacy to inquire as to private means and personal 
motives, it is equally ridiculous in an Englishman abroad to 
take offence at such questions, and consider as an imperti- 
nence what is only meant as a friendly advance to nearer 
acquaintance. I certainly cannot understand why an honest 
man shoidd determine to make a secret of his position, 
profession, and resources, unless it be from a false pride, 
and a desire to be thought richer and better than he is ; 
but as these subjects are respected in this country, I should 
be guilty of great ill-breeding if I sought to remove his 
secrecy. 

I shall never forget the look of horror and astonishment 
I once saw on the face of an English lady talking to a 
foreign ambassadress. The latter, thoroughly well-bred, ac- 
cording to native ideas, had admired the former's dress, and 
touching one of the silk flounces delicately enough, she in- 
quired, " How much did it cost a yard 1" Such questions 
are common enough on the Continent, and our neighbours 
see no harm in them. And why should we do so 1 Is it 
anyway detrimental to us to tell how much we paid for our 
clothes ? Yet, such is the false pride of English people on 
matters connected, however slightly, with money, that even 
to mention that most necessary article is considered as bad 
breeding in this country. "We must respect the prejudice, 
though, in fact, it is a vulgar one. 

The next kind of bad society is the vulgar, in which the 
morals may be good, but the manners are undoubtedly bad. 
What bad manners are in detail, will be shown in the course 
of this work ; but I shall now take as the distinguishing 
test of this kind of society — a general vulgarity of conduct. 
F 



42 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

Until the end of the last century, the word vulgarity was 
confined to the low, mean, and essentially plebeian. It 
would be well if we could so limit it in the present day, 
but the great mixture of classes and the elevation of wealth, 
have thrust vulgarity even into the circles of good society, 
where, like a black sheep in a white flock, you may some- 
times find a thoroughly vulgar man or woman recommended 
by little but their wealth, or a position gained by certain 
popular qualifications. Where the majority of the company 
are decidedly vulgar, the society may be set down as bad. 

Apart from coarseness and familiarity, vulgarity may be 
defined as pretension of some kind. This is shown promi- 
nently in a display of wealth. I remember being taken to 
dine at the house of a French corn-merchant, who had 
realized an enormous fortune. It was almost a family 
party, for there were only three strangers, including myself. 
The manners of every one present were irreproachable, and 
the dinner excellent, but it was served on gold plate. Such 
a display was unnecessary, inconsistent, and therefore vul- 
gar. A display of dress in ladies comes under the same 
head, and will be easily detected by inappropriateness. The 
lady who walks in the streets in a showy dress suitable only 
to a fete; who comes to a quiet social gathering with a 
profusion of costly jewellery ; the man who electrifies a 
country village with the fashionable attire of Eotten Eow, 
or reminds you of his guineas by a display of unnecessary 
jewels ; the people, in short, who are always over-drest for 
the occasion, may be set down as vulgar. Too much state 
is a vulgarity not always confined to wealth, and when a 
late nobleman visiting a simple commoner at his country 
house, brought with him a valet, coachman, three grooms, 
two men-servants, a carriage, and half-a-dozen horses, he 



THE VULGAEITY OF DISPLAY. 



43 



was guilty of as gross vulgarity as Solomon Moses or 
Abiathar Nathan, who adorns his fat stumpy fingers with 
three rings a piece. So completely indeed is modesty the 
true spirit of good breeding, that any kind of display in 
poor or rich, high or low, savours of vulgarity ; and the man 
who makes too much of his peculiar excellencies, who 
attempts to engross conversation with the one topic he is 
strong in, who having travelled is always telling you " what 
they do on the Continent ;" who being a scholar, overwhelms 
you with Menander or Manetho, who, having a lively wit, 
showers down on the whole company a perpetual hail of his 
own bon mots, and laughs at them himself, who, gifted with 
a fine voice, monopolizes the piano the whole evening, who, 
having distinguished himself in the Crimea, perpetually 
leads back the conversation to the theme of war, and rattles 
away on his own achievements, who, having written a book, 
interlards his talk with, " As I say in my novel," &c, who 
being a fine rider, shows his horse off in a score of difficult 
manoeuvres, as Louis Napoleon did at the Egremont tour- 
nament, though not asked to take part in the lists, who goes 
to a party with all the medals and clasps he has perhaps 
most honourably earned, or who, being a great man in any 
line, puts himself prominently forward, condescends, talks 
loud, or asserts his privileges, is a vulgar man, be he king, 
kaiser, or cobbler. 

But there is a form of vulgarity found as much in those of 
small as those of large means, and known by the name of 
" gentility." I know a man who keeps a poor little worn-out 
pony-phseton, and always speaks of it as " my carriage," 
taking care to bring it in whenever possible. My friend 
Mrs. Jones dines at one o'clock, but invariably calls it her 
" lunch." The Rev. Mr. Smith cannot afford the first-class 



44 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

oil a railway, but is too genteel to go in the second. Excel- 
lent man ! he tells me — and I am bound to believe it: — that 
he positively prefers the third class to the first. " Those 
first-class carriages are so stuffy," he says, " and in the 
second one meets such people, it is really unbearable," but 
he does not let me know that in the third he will have to 
sit next to an odoriferous ploughboy, get his knees crushed 
by a good woman's huge market-basket, and catch cold from 
a draught passing through the ill-adjusted windows. There 
is no earthly reason why he should not travel in what carriage 
he likes, but the vulgarity consists in being ashamed of his 
poverty, and tacitly pretending to be better off than he is. 
Brown, again, calls his father's nutshell of a cottage " our 
country seat," and Mrs. Brown speaks of the diminutive 
buttons as the "man-servant." My tailor has his crest 
embossed on his note-paper ; Kobinson, the successful stock- 
broker, covers the panels of his carriage with armorial bear- 
ings as large as dishes ; Tomkins, ashamed of his father's 
name, signs himself Tomkyns ; and Mrs. Williams, when I 
call, always discourses on English history that she may bring 
in John of Gaunt, " an ancestor of ours, you know." 

Nor is gentility confined to a pretension to more wealth, 
better birth, or greater state than we possess. The com- 
monest form of it, found unfortunately in all classes, is the 
pretension to a higher position than we occupy. The John- 
sons, retired haberdashers, cannot visit the Jacksons, retired 
linen-drapers, but have moved heaven and earth for an in- 
troduction to the Jamesons, who are not retired from any- 
thing. The Jamesons receive the Johnsons, but stiffly 
annihilate them at once by talking of " our friends the 
Williamsons," who have a cousin in Parliament, and 
the Williamsons again are for ever dragging the said cousin 



PEETENSION. 



45 



into their conversation, that the Jamesons may be stupified. 
We go higher ; the M.P., though perhaps a Radical, will 
for ever be dogging the steps of the noble viscount opposite, 
and call the leader of his own party " that fellow so-and- 
so." The viscount is condescendingly gracious to the com- 
moner, but deferential to the duke, and the duke himself 
will be as merry as old King Cole, if " the blood" should 
happen to notice him more than usual. Alas ! poor worms, 
in what paltry shadows we can glory, and forget the end 
that lays us all in the common comfortless lap of mother 
earth ! 

Nothing therefore will more irretrievably stamp you as 
vulgar in really good society, than the repeated introduc- 
tion of the names of the nobility, or even of distinguished 
personages in reference to yourself. It is absurd to sup- 
pose that you can reflect the light of these greater orbs ; on 
the contrary, your mention of them naturally suggests a 
comparison, such as one makes between the unpretending 
glorious sun, and the pale pitiable moon, when she quits 
her proper sphere and forces herself into broad daylight. 
When Scribbles of the Seal and Tape Office tells us he was 
flirting last night with Lady. Adelaide, when the Duke of 

came up and " shook hands with me, 'pon honour he 

did," I am tempted to think Scribbles either a gross exag- 
gerator, or a grosser snob. When worthy Mrs. Midge 
relates for the thirteenth time how she travelled down with 
" Her Grace," and I see how her eyes glow, and how vainly 
she attempts to appear indifferent to the honour (which it 
is to her), she only proves to me how small she must feel her- 
self to be, to hope to gain brilliance by such a slight contact. 
I feel fain to remind her of the Indian fable of a lump of 
crystal, which thought it would be mistaken for gold be- 



46 THE SPIRIT OP SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

cause it reflected the glitter of the neighbouring metal. It 
was never taken for gold, but it was supposed to cover it, 
and got shivered to atoms by the hammer of the miner. 

But when this vulgarity is reduced to practice it becomes 
actual meanness. The race of panders, parasites, or " flun- 
keys," as they are now called, is one which has flourished 
through all time, and the satire of all ages has been freely 
levelled at their servile truculency. But, in general, they 
have had a substantial object in view, and mean as he may 
be, a courtier who flattered for place or for money, is some- 
how less contemptible than the modern groveller who pan- 
ders to the great from pure respect of their greatness, from 
pure want of self-respect. I am not one of those who deny 
position its rights ; and as long as caste is recognised in this 
country, I would have respect shown from one of a lower 
to one of a higher class. But this respect for the position 
must not be blind ; it should not extend to worship of the 
man. No rank, no wealth, no distinction, even if gained 
by merit, should close our eyes to actual unworthiness in 
its holder. We may bow to the nobility of my lord, but 
we are truculent slaves if we call it nobleness. We may 
respect with dignity the accident of birth and wealth, but 
if the duke be an acknowledged reprobate, or the million- 
aire a selfish grasper, we are inexcusable if we allow their 
accidental distinctions to blot out their glaring faults. What 
we should hate in our friend, and punish in our servant, we 
must never overlook as a " weakness" in the Duke or 
Dives. It is not mere vulgarity, it is positive unchristian- 
ity, hopeless injustice. 

A less offensive but more ridiculous form of vulgar 
gentility, is that which displays itself in a pretension to 
Buperior refinement and sensibility. We have all had our 



HON! SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE. 



47 



laugh at the American ladies who talk of the " limbs" of 
their chairs and tables, ask for a slice from the " bosom" 
of a fowl, and speak of a rump-steak as a " seat-fixing," 
but in reality we are not far short of them, when we invent 
the most far-fetched terms for trousers, and our young 
ladies faint — or try to — at the mention of a petticoat, — 
Honi soit qui mal y pense ; and shame indeed to the man, 
still more to the woman, whose mind is so impure, that the 
mere name of one common object immediately suggests 
another which decency excludes from conversation. It is 
indeed difficult to define in what indelicacy consists and 
where it begins, but it is clear that nature has intended 
some things to be hidden ; and civilisation, removing farther 
and farther from nature, yet not going against it, has 
added many more. In this respect civilisation has become 
a second nature, and what it has once concealed cannot be 
exposed without indelicacy. For instance, nothing is more 
beautiful than the bosom of a woman, and to a pure mind 
there is nothing shocking, but something touching indeed, 
in seeing a poor woman who has no bread to give it, 
suckling her child in public. Still civilisation has covered 
the bosom, and the ladies who wear their dresses off their 
shoulders are, in the present day, guilty of an immodesty 
which was none in the days when Lely painted — on can- 
vas, I mean — the beauties of Charles's court. 

But to go beyond the received opinion of the majority 
is super-refinement and vulgarity, and too often tempts us 
to fancy that an impure association has suggested the idea 
of impropriety. I cannot imagine what indelicate fancy 
those people must have who will not allow us to say " go 
to bed," but substitute " retire to rest." Surely the couch 
where dewy sleep drowns our cares and refreshes our 



48 



THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 



wearied forms ; where we dream those dreams which to 
some are the only bright spots of their lives; where we 
escape for a time from the grinding of the worldly mill, 
from hunger, calumny, persecution, and dream maybe of 
heaven itself and future relief; — surely our pure simple 
beds are too sacred to be polluted with the impure con- 
structions of these vulgar prudes. Or again, what more 
beautiful word than woman 1 woman, man's ruin first, and 
since then alternately his destroyer and saviour ; woman 
who consoles, raises, cherishes, refines us ; and yet I must 
forget that you are a w r oman, and only call you a lady. 
" Lady" is a beautiful name, a high noble name, but it is 
not dear and near to me like " woman." Yet if I speak 
of you as a woman, you leap up and tell me you will not 
stay to be insulted. Poor silly little thing, I gave you the 
name I loved best, and you, not I, connected some horrid 
idea with it ; is your mind or mine at fault 1 Perhaps the 
most delightful instance of this indelicate delicacy of terms 
was in the case of the elderly spinster — of whom I was 
told the other day—who kept poultry, but always spoke of 
the cock as the " hens' companion." 

In short, it amounts to this. If it be indelicate to men- 
tion a thing, let it never be mentioned by any name what- 
ever ; if it be not indelicate to mention it, it cannot be so 
to use its ordinary proper name. If legs are naughty, let 
us never speak of them ; if not naughty, why blush to call 
them legs 1 The change of name cannot change the idea 
suggested by it. If legs be a naughty idea, then no 
recourse to " limbs" will save you. You have spoken of 
legs, though, under another name ; you thought of legs, you 
meant legs ; you suggested legs to me under that other 
name ; you are .clearly an egregious sinner ; you are like 



GENTILITY IN LANGUAGE. 



49 



the French soldier, you will swear by the " sapreinent," 
saving his wretched little conscience by the change of a 
single letter. That reminds me of a nautical friend who 
" cured" himself, he said, of the bad habit of swearing, by 
using, instead of oaths, the words Rotter — , Amster — , 
Potz — , and Schie — , mentally reserving the final syl- 
lable of these names of towns, &c, and fully convinced that 
he did well. 

That same habit of demi-swearing is another bit of pre- 
tension, which, if it cannot be called vulgarity, is certainly 
Pharisaical. The young lady who would cut you — properly 
enough — for using an oath, will nevertheless cry " bother" 
when her boot-lace breaks, or what not. But " bother" is 
only the feminine form of your Saxon expletive, and means 
in reality just as much. So, too, your man who would 
cut his throat sooner than use a bad word, will nevertheless 
write it " d — n," as if everybody did not know what 
two letters were left out. There is great hypocrisy about 
these things. 

But the worst vulgarity is an assumption of refinement 
in the choice of language. This is common among servants 
in England, and in the lower orders in France and Ger- 
many, where it is sometimes very amusing to hear fine 
words murdered and used in any but the right sense. Mrs. 
jVtalaprop saves me any trouble of going into details on this 
point, but I may observe that the best speakers will never 
use a Latin word where an Anglo-Saxon one will do as 
well; "buy" is better than " purchase," "wish" than 
9* desire," and so on. The small genteel, you will observe, 
never speak of rich and poor, but of " those of large and 
those of small means." Another similar piece of flummery 
is the expression, " If anything should happen to me," 

G 



50 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

which everybody knows you mean for, " if I should die." 
As you do not conceal your meaning, why not speak out 
bravely 1 

Besides in words, there is an over-refinement in habits. 
Even cleanliness can be exaggerated, as in the case of the 
Pharisees, and the late Duke of Queensberry, who would 
wash in nothing but milk. Our own Queen uses distilled 
water only for her toilet ; but this is not a case in point, 
since it is for the sake of health, I believe, with her. A 
sad case, however, was that of the lovely Princess Alexan- 
dria of Bavaria, who died mad from over-cleanliness. It 
began by extreme scrupulousness. At dinner she would 
minutely examine her plate, and if she Saw the slightest 
speck on it, would send for another. She would then turn 
the napkin round and round to examine every corner, 
and often rise from table because she thought she was 
not served properly in this respect. At last it became a 
monomania, till on plates, napkins, dishes, table-cloth, and 
everything else, she believed she saw nothing but masses of 
dirt. It weighed on her mind, poor thing • she could not 
be clean enough, and it drove her to insanity. 

Anne of Austria could not lay her delicate limbs in any 
but cambric sheets, and there are many young gentlemen in 
England who look on you as a depraved barbarian, if you 
do not wear silk stockings under your boots. Silver-spoonism 
is, after all, vulgarity ; it is an assumption of delicacy 
superior to the majority ; and so too is prudery, which is 
only an assumption of superior modesty. 

In short, refinement must not war against nature, but 
go along with it, and the true gentleman can do anything 
that is not coarse or wrong. Fitzlow, who cannot lift his 
own carpet-bag into his own cab ; Startup, who cannot put 



DANGEKOUS SOCIETY. 



a lump of coal on the fire ; Miss Languish, who " never 
touched a needle ;" and Miss Listless, who thinks it low to 
rake the beds in the garden, or tie up a head of roses, are 
not ladies and gentlemen, but vulgar people. It rather 
astonishes such persons to find that a nobleman can carry 
his bag, and stir his fire, and that a noble lady delights in 
gardening. 

But I shall risk the imputation of over-refinement my- 
self, if I say more on this point, and so I come to the third 
class of bad society in which the manners and breeding are 
perfect, and the morals bad, which is the most dangerous 
class there is. Without agreeing at all with the Chartist 
school in their views of the aristocracy, I think it must be 
acknowledged that this class of bad society is found mostly 
among the upper circles of society, and for the simple rea- 
son, that except among them vice is generally accompanied 
with bad manners. We have historical proofs in any quantity 
of this class being aristocratic. The vice of courts is pro- 
verbial, but courtly manners are reckoned as the best. All 
the beaux and half the wits on record have led bad lives. 
Chesterfield himself was a dissolute gambler, and repented 
bitterly in his old age of his past life, and it is he who says, 
that the best company is not necessarily the most moral, 
which determines the value of his work on Etiquettef 
There is, however, something in the vice of this kind of 
society which at once makes it the most and the least dan- 
gerous. All vice is here gilded ; it is made elegant and 
covered with a gloss of good-breeding. Men of family 
have to mix with ladies, and ladies of family have almost 
public reputations to keep up. All that is done is sub 
rosa. There are none of the grosser vices admitted in the 
present day. There is no drunkenness, little or no swear- 



52 



THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSEE VANCES. 



ing, no coarseness. But there is enough of gambling still 
to ruin a young man, and the " social evil" here takes its 
most elegant and most seductive form. While, therefore, on 
the one hand, you may mix in this kind of society, and see 
and therefore know very little of its immorality, its vices, 
when known to you, assume a fashionable prestige and a 
certain delicacy which seem to deprive them of their gross- 
ness and make them the more tempting. Let us therefore 
call no society good, till we have sounded its morals as well 
as : its manners ; and this brings us to speak of what good 
society really is. 

We cannot do this better than by looking first into what 
is generally taken as good society. I shall, therefore, glance 
over the state of society in different ages in this country, 
and in the present day on the Continent. 

The real civilisation of England can scarcely be dated 
earlier than at the Eeformation, and even then the turbulent 
state of the country, setting one man's knife against another, 
and leaving, when bloodshed was shamed back, the same 
deadly hatred showing itself in open reproaches and secret 
attacks, made social gatherings a difficulty, if not an impos- 
sibility. Henry vin., indeed, had a somewhat jovial court, 
but the country itself was far too unsettled to join much 
in the merriment. In fact, up to the time of Charles I., 
there were but three kinds of society in England : the 
court, around which all the nobility gathered, making Lon- 
don a Helicon of manners ; the small country gentry who 
could not come up to London ; and the country people, among 
whom manners were as yet as rude as among the serfs of 
Eussia in the present day. In the court there had suc- 
ceeded to real chivalry a kind of false principle of honour. 
A man who wore a sword was bound to use it. Quarrels 



SOCIETY UNDER GOOD QUEEN BESS. 

were made rapidly, and rapidly patched up by reference to 
the code of honour. With the country gentry, the main 
feature was a rough hospitality. People spoke their minds 
in those days without reserve, and a courtier was looked 
on as a crafty man, whose words served to conceal rather 
than express his thoughts. Among the people was a yet 
ruder revelry, and the morality was not of a high kind. 

The position of woman is that which has always given 
the key to civilisation. The higher that position has been 
raised, the more influence has the gentleness which arises 
from her weakness been felt by the other sex. In fact, the 
term " gentleman" only came in when women were ad- 
mitted into society on a par with men. A " gentleman" 
was a man who could associate with ladies. And what 
was the respect exacted by and paid to woman before the 
time of Charles i., the dramatists of the Elizabethan age 
tell us in every page. "What must have been the education 
of the Virgin Queen herself, who was not thought very ill 
of for allowing Leicester to be her lady's-maid, and kiss her 
without asking leave, and who would have been thought a 
prude had she objected to the gross scenes in the masks 
and plays acted before her, and found often enough even in 
Shakspere. Not only were " things called by their right 
names," but an insidious innuendo took the place very often 
of better wit, and was probably enjoyed far more. 

The country gentry lived in their moated houses at great 
distances from one another, and the country lady was rarely 
more than a good housewife, serving a rough hospitality to 
her guests ; while the gentlemen drank deep, swore pretty 
oaths, talked far from reservedly in her presence, and pleased 
her most with the broadest compliment to her fair form. 

The dignity of Charles introduced a rather more noble 



5*- THE SPIEIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

bearing among the men, and the Puritans did much to 
cleanse society of its gross familiarities ; but the position 
of women was still a very inferior one, and it was not till 
the beginning of the last century that they took a prominent 
place in society. There had gradually sprung up another 
class, which gave the tone to manners. Hitherto there had 
been in London only the Court-circles and the bourgeoisie. 
But as the lesser nobility grew richer and nocked to the 
large towns, they began to form a large class apart from 
the Court, which gradually narrowed its circle more and 
more. But good society still meant high society, and 
Chesterfield was right in recommending his son to seek out 
rank and wealth, for those who had it not were generally 
badly educated and worse mannered. There was, however, 
one class now rising into a separate existence, which the 
patron of manners has not overlooked. It is to those men 
of education and mind, who, lacking rank and wealth, were 
still remarkable for the vivacity of their conversation — in 
short, to the wits — that we owe the origin of our modern 
" middle classes." 

The Spectator, however, proves what women were at 
this period. Little educated and with no accomplishments 
save that of flirting a fan, the more fashionable gave them- 
selves up to extravagances of dress, and were distinguished 
for the smartness, not the sense of their conversation. 
They were still unsuited, perhaps more so than ever, for 
the companionship of intellectual men, and it was the 
elegant triflers, like Walpole, rather than men of sound 
serious minds, who made correspondents of them. The 
consequence was that the men gathered together in clubs, 
a species of evening society which, while it fostered wit, 
destroyed the stage, and made a system of gambling and 



SOCIETY IN THE LAST CENTURY. 



drinking. The high society was still the best, and it was 
among the nobility chiefly that women began to mix in the 
amusements of the other sex. Balls, too, were no longer 
an entertainment reserved for Court and the grandees ; and 
in the balls at Bath, under Beau Nash, we find the first 
attempt to mingle the gentry and bourgeoisie, and thus 
form the nucleus of a middle class. It was now too that 
mere wealth, which could never have brought its owner 
into the Court-circles, or been a sufficient recommendation 
to the nobility of the seventeenth century, became an autho- 
ritative introduction among the gentry. 

If England is the only European country which has a 
real middle class, where birth is of no account, it is owing 
to that law of primogeniture which from very remote times 
caused the "formation of a class known as " gentry," which 
has no equivalent in any Continental country. It was this 
class, which belonging by connexion to the aristocracy, 
belonged by necessity to the bourgeoisie, from whom 
they were not distinguished by actual rank. From the 
bourgeoisie, indeed, they kept aloof as long as possible ; 
but wealth, which could give the gentry a footing among 
the aristocracy, could only come from the mercantile classes, 
and the rich merchant's daughter who was married to a 
country gentleman soon succeeded in bringing her rela- 
tions into his set. Towards the end, therefore, of the 
last century, we find three classes between the Court and 
the people, namely, the noble, the " gentle," and the rich ; 
in other words, rank, birth, and wealth were the requisites.;, 
of society. The higher classes were still the best educated, 
but the wealthy looked to education to fit them for the 
circles of the gentry, and women being better educated 
took a more important place in social arrangements* 



56 



THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 



In this century these classes began to draw together. 
The noble sought wives among the rich ; the rich became 
gentle in a couple of generations ; and the gentry became 
rich by marriage. 

But if a merchant or successful speculator were admitted 
in higher circles, the professional man, who could go to 
Court and had always taken precedence of trade, could 
not be excluded. Hitherto the liberal professions and 
literature had occupied a kind of dependent position. The 
clergyman was almost a retainer of the squire's, the lawyer 
was the landowner's agent, the doctor had his great patron, 
and the writer often lived on the money given for fulsome 
dedications to those noblemen and others who wished to 
appear in the light of a Maecenas. These distinctions, 
however, were lost in great cities, and the growth of the 
population gave to at least three of these professions a 
public which paid as well as, and exacted less adulation 
than the oligarchy ; not indeed giving less trouble, for 
we have now a thousand tastes to study instead of one, 
a thousand prejudices to respect ; and if we do not write 
fulsome dedications to the public, we are no less compelled 
to insert every here and there that artful flattery which 
makes John Bull appear in the light of — I do not say 
the best and most noble — but the richest, most power- 
ful, most thriving, most honest, most amiably faulty, but 
magnanimously virtuous of publics. 

But I am not flattering you, Mr. Bull, when I tell you 
that in respect of your middle classes you have made a 
vast step in advance of all other nations. For what does 
the middle-class mean ? Not twenty years ago, it was 
taken to represent only the better portion of the com- 
mercial and lower half of professional society. I well 



THE MIDDLE CLASSES. 



57 



remember with what a sneer some people spoke of a 
merchant, and the gulf that the barrister and physician 
asserted to exist between them and the lawyer and general 
practitioner. And how is it now 1 How many gentle- 
men of old family would now decline an introduction to 
a well-educated merchant ? How many rather would not 
recommend their sons to be constant visitors on the mer- 
chant's wife and daughters ? Is it not the barrister who 
now flatters the attorney, and where is the distinction 
between physician and surgeon % No ; the middle-class 
has an enormous extent now, and even the landed gentry, 
when brought to town, mingle freely and gladly with 
commerce and the professions. In fact, we are more and 
more widening our range. The nobleman takes a part- 
nership in a brewery, on the one hand ; on the other, 
the haberdasher sits in Parliament, and sends his son to 
Oxford. The gentry, throwing over birth as a useless com- 
modity, rush into commerce and the professions. Dukes 
and peers are delighted to make money by writing, if 
they do not confess to writing for money. The merchant 
is at last received at Court ; the banker is a peer ; the 
shop-boy who has worked his way to the Woolsack, brings 
with him a sympathy for shop-boys {perhaps), which 
lessens the gulf between trade and aristocracy ; and be- 
holding these and many other wonders, you exclaim with 
glee : " It is an age of unity, caste is obliterated, and 
in another fifty years even the distinction of a title will 
be gone, and the middle-class will comprise all who are 
educated." 

Softly, softly, my friend ; no Utopias, if you please. 
Caste may be abolished in name, but it will exist in feeling 
for many an age, though its limitations be not those of 



58 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

rank, birth, and wealth. We used to say at the university 
that the larger a college, the smaller its sets, and that you 
knew more men in a small college than you possibly could 
in a large one. It is the same with the middle, or as it is 
now called the educated class. The larger it grows, the 
more it will split up into classes which may have no name, 
and may be separated by very slight distinctions, but which 
will in reality, if not in appearance, be as far apart in feel- 
ing as the old castes were in every respect. In short, 
" good society " has substituted for the old distinctions of 
rank, birth, wealth, and intellectual pre-eminence, one less 
distinct in appearance, far more subtle, but far more diffi- 
cult to attain. Indeed, rank and birth were gifts, wealth 
often came by inheritance, and a man might be born a wit 
or a genius, but that which has taken their place as a test 
can be acquired only by education, careful study, and 
observation, followed up by practice. It goes by the name 
of " breeding," and when people talk to you of innate good- 
breeding, they speak of an impossibility. Some of its ne- 
cessary qualities may be innate, and these may show them- 
selves on occasions, and be mistaken for good-breeding 
itself, but a further acquaintance may reveal the possessor 
in a different light. Good-breeding is only acquired, being 
taught us by our nurses, our parents, our tutors, our school- 
fellows, our friends, our enemies still more, and our experi- 
ence everywhere ; and yet not one of these teachers may 
possess it themselves ; many, as nurses and school-fellows, 
certainly do not. It is breeding which now divides the one 
class you claim to exist, into so many classes, all of which 
are educated. One set has no breeding at all, another 
has a little, another more, another enough, and another too 
much — for this also is possible — and between that which 



EDUCATION. 



59 



has none, and that which has enough, there are more 
shades than in the rainbow. 

We can now therefore speak of the principal requisites of 
good society, of which good-breeding — that is, enough and 
not too much of it — is the first. I have shown that, 
until the development of a middle class, the best society 
(not in a moral, but general point of view) was to be found 
among the aristocracy. Hence the word " aristocratic" 
has come to mean " good for society/' and therefore while 
I premise that the best society is not now high society 
either by wealth, birth, or distinction, I shall also premise 
that good society is essentially aristocratic in the sense in 
which we speak of aristocratic beauty, aristocratic bearing, 
aristocratic appearance and manners. 

The first indispensable requisite for good society is edu- 
cation. By this I do not mean the so-called " finished 
education" of a university or a boarding-school. I think 
it will be found that these establishments put their 
"finish" somewhere in the middle of the course; they 
may possibly finish you as far as teachers can, but the 
education which is to fit you for good society must be pur- 
sued long after you leave them, as it ought to have been 
begun long before you went to them. This education 
should have commenced with developing the mental powers, 
and especially the comprehension. A man should be able, 
in order to enter into conversation, to catch rapidly the 
meaning of anything that is advanced ; for instance, though 
you know nothing of science, you should not be obliged to 
stare and be silent, when a man who does understand it is 
explaining a new discovery or a new theory ; though you 
have not read a word of Blackstone, your comprehensive 
powers should be sufficiently acute to enable you to take in 



CO THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

the statement that may be made of a recent cause ; though 
you may not have read some particular book, you should 
be capable of appreciating the criticism which you hear of 
it. Without such a power — simple enough and easily 
attained by attention and practice, yet too seldom met with 
in general society — a conversation which departs from the 
most ordinary topics cannot be maintained without the risk 
of lapsing into a lecture ; with such a power society be- 
comes instructive as well as amusing, and you have no 
remorse at an evening's end at having wasted three or four 
hours in profitless banter or simpering platitudes. This 
facility of comprehension often startles us in some women, 
whose education we know to have been poor, and whose 
reading is limited. If they did not rapidly receive your 
ideas, they could not therefore be fit companions for intel- 
lectual men, and it is perhaps their consciousness of a defi- 
ciency which leads them to pay the more attention to what 
you say. It is this which makes married women so much 
more agreeable to men of thought than young ladies, as 
a rule, can be, for they are accustomed to the society of a 
husband, and the effort to be a companion to his mind has 
engrafted the habit of attention and ready reply. 

No less important is the cultivation of taste. If it is 
tiresome and deadening to be with people who cannot 
understand, and will not even appear to be interested in 
your better thoughts, it is almost repulsive to find a man, 
still more a woman, insensible to all beauty, and immovable 
by any horror. I remember passing through the galleries 
of Hampton Court with a lady of this kind in whom I had 
in vain looked for enthusiasm. " Ah !" I exclaimed, as 
we passed into a well-known gallery, " we are come at last 
to Raphael's cartoons." 



CULTIVATION OF TASTE. 



61 



"Are we?" she asked languidly, as we stood in the 
presence of those grand conceptions. " Dear me, how high 
the fountain's playing in the court !" 

In the present day an acquaintance with art, even if you 
have no love for it, is a sine qud non of good society. 
Music and painting are subjects which will be discussed in 
every direction round you. It is only in bad society that 
people go to the opera, concerts, and art-exhibitions merely 
because it is the fashion, or to say they have been there ; 
and if you confessed to such a weakness in really good 
society, you would be justly voted a puppy. For this, too, 
some book-knowledge is indispensable. You should at least 
know the names of the more celebrated artists, composers, 
architects, sculptors, and so forth, and should be able to 
approximate their several schools. 

"I have just bought a Hobbema," was said to Mrs. B. 
the other day. " What shall you put into it P said she, 
hoping to conceal her ignorance. 

So, too, you should know pretty accurately the pro- 
nunciation of celebrated ,names, or, if not, take care not to 
use them. An acquaintance of mine is always talking 
about pictures, and asks me how I like iZannibal Carra^i, 
and GAarlanda^ro. It was the same person who, seeing at 
the bottom of a rare engraving the name " Eaphael Mengs," 
said in a kind of musing rapture, "Beautiful thing, in- 
deed, quite in Raphael's earlier style ; you can trace the 
influence of Perugino in that figure.'' So, too, it will 
never do to be ignorant of the names and approximate 
ages of great composers, especially in London, where music 
is so highly appreciated and so common a theme. It will be 
decidedly condemnatory if you talk of the new opera, " Don 
Giovanni," or Rossini's " Trovatore •" or are ignorant who 



62 THE SPIRIT OE SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

composed " Fidelio," and in what opera occur such common 
pieces as " Ciascun lo dice," or " II segreto." I do not say 
that these trifles are indispensable, and when a man has 
better knowledge to offer, especially with genius, or 
" cleverness" to back it, he will not only be pardoned for 
an ignorance of them, but can even take a high tone 
and profess indifference or contempt of them. But at the 
same time such ignorance stamps an ordinary man, and 
hinders conversation. On the other hand, the best society 
will not endure dilettantism, and whatever the knowledge 
a man may possess of any art, he must not display it so 
as to make the ignorance of others painful to them. We 
are gentlemen, not picture-dealers. But this applies to 
every topic. To have only one or two subjects to converse 
on, and to discourse rather than talk on them, is always 
ill-bred, whether the theme be literature or horse-flesh. 
The Newmarket lounger would probably denounce the 
former as "a bore," and call us pedants for dwelling on 
it ; but if, as is too often the case, he can give us no- 
thing more general than a discussion of the " points " of a 
mare that perhaps we have never even seen, he is as great 
a pedant in his way. 

Reason plays a less conspicuous part in good society, be- 
cause its frequenters are too reasonable to be mere reasoners. 
A disputation is always dangerous to temper, and tedious 
to those who cannot feel as eager as the disputants ; a dis- 
cussion, on the other hand, in which everybody has a chance 
of stating amicably and unobtrusively his or her opinion, 
must be of frequent occurrence. But to cultivate the rea- 
son, besides its high moral value, has the advantage of 
enabling one to reply as well as attend to the opinions of 
others. Nothing is more tedious or disheartening than a 



DOCTOR S1NTAX. 



63 



perpetual "Yes, just so," and nothing more. Conversa- 
tion must never be one-sided. Then, again, the reason 
enables us to support a fancy or opinion, when we are asked 
why we think so and so. To reply, " I don't know, but 
still I think so," is silly in a man and tedious in a woman. 
But there is a part of our education so important and so 
neglected in our schools and colleges, that it cannot be too 
highly impressed on parents on the one hand, and young 
people on the other. I mean that which we learn first of 
all things, yet often have not learned fully when Death 
eases us of the necessity — the art of speaking our own 
language. What can Greek and Latin, French and German, 
be for us in our every-day life, if we have not acquired 
this ? We are often encouraged to raise a laugh at Doctor 
Syntax and the tyranny of Grammar, but we may be cer- 
tain that more misunderstandings, and therefore more diffi- 
culties, arise between men in the commonest intercourse 
from a want of grammatical precision, than from any other 
cause. It was once the fashion to neglect grammar, as it 
now is with certain people to write illegibly, and in the 
days of Goethe, a man thought himself a genius if he could 
spell badly. How much this simple knowledge is neglected 
in England, even among the upper classes, is shown by the 
results of the examinations for the army and the civil ser- 
vices ; how valuable it is, is now generally acknowledged 
by men of sound sense. Precision and accuracy must 
begin in the very outset ; and if we neglect them in gram- 
mar, we shall scarcely acquire them in expressing our 
thoughts. But since there is no society without inter- 
change of thought, and since the best society is that in 
which the best thoughts are interchanged in the best 
and moat comprehensible manner, it follow® that a prope* 



G4 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

mode of expressing ourselves is indispensable to good 
society. 

There is one poor neglected letter, the subject of a 
poetical charade by Byron, which people in the present 
day have made the test of fitness for good society. For my 
part, T would sooner associate with a man who dropped 
that eighth letter of our alphabet than with one who spoke 
bad grammar and expressed himself ill. But if he has not 
learned to pronounce a letter properly, it is scarcely pro- 
bable that he will have studied the art of speech at all. 
It is amusing to hear the ingenious excuses made by people 
for this neglect. " Mrs. A — ," one person tells you, " is 
a woman of excellent education. You must not be sur- 
prised at her dropping her h's, it is a Staffordshire habit, 
and she has lived all her life in that county." I fancy 
that it is not Staffordshire or any other shire that can be 
saddled with the fault. It is simply a habit of ill-bred 
people everywhere throughout the three kingdoms. Nor 
is the plea of dialect any real excuse. It is a peculiarity 
of Middlesex dialect to put a v for a w, and a iv for a v. 
Would any one on that account present Mr. Samivel Veller 
as a gentleman of good education, with a slight peculiarity 
of dialect in his speech 1 Good society uses the same lan- 
guage everywhere, and dialects ought to be got rid of in 
those who would frequent it. The language of Burns may 
be very beautiful in poetry, and the ballads of Moore may 
gain much from a strong Irish brogue, but if we object to 
London slang in conversation, we have as much right to 
object to local peculiarities which make your speech either 
incomprehensible or ridiculous ; and certain it is that the 
persons whose strong nationality induces them to retain 
their Scotch or Irish idiom and accent, are always ready 



LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE. 



G5 



to protest against Americanisms, and would be very much 
bothered if a Yorkshire landowner were to introduce his 
local drawl into the drawing-room. Localism is not patriot- 
ism, and therefore until the Union is dissolved, we must 
request people to talk English in English society. 

The art of expressing one's thoughts neatly and suitably 
is one which, in the neglect of rhetoric as a study, we must 
practise for ourselves. The commonest thought well put 
is more useful in a social point of view than the most bril- 
liant idea jumbled out. What is well expressed is easily 
seized and therefore readily responded to ; the most poetic 
fancy may be lost to the hearer if the language which con- 
veys it is obscure. Speech is the gift which distinguishes 
man from animals, and makes society possible. He has but 
a poor appreciation of his high privilege as a human being, 
who neglects to cultivate " God's great gift of speech." 

As I am not writing for men of genius, but for ordinary 
beings, I am right to state that an indispensable part of 
education is a knowledge of English literature. But how 
to read is, for society, more important than what we read. 
The man who takes up nothing but a newspaper, but reads 
it to think, to deduct conclusions from its premises, and 
form a judgment on its opinions, is more fitted for society 
than he, who, having a large box regularly from Mudie's, 
and devoting his whole day to its contents, swallows it all 
without digestion. In fact, the mind must be treated like 
the body, and however great its appetite, it will soon fall 
into bad health, if it gorges but does not ruminate. At 
the same time an acquaintance with the best current litera- 
ture is necessary to modern society, and it is not sufficient 
to have read a book without being able to pass a judgment 
on it. Conversation on literature is impossible, when your 
I 



66 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

respondent can only say, " Yes, I like the book, but I really 
don't know why." Or what can we do with the young- 
lady whose literary stock is as limited as that of the daugh- 
ter of a late eminent member of Parliament, whom a friend 
of mine had once to take down to dinner ? 

He had tried her on music and painting in vain. She 
had no taste for either. Society was as barren a theme, 
for papa did not approve of any but dinner parties. 

" Then I suppose you read a great deal?" asked my 
friend. 

" Oh, yes ! we read.'* 

" Light literature?" 

" Oh, yes ! light literature." 

" Novels, for instance?" 

" Oh, yes ! novels." 

" Do you like Dickens?" 

" We don't read Dickens." 

" Oh ! I see you are of Thackeray's party." 

" We never read Thackeray." 

" Then you are romantic, and devoted to Bulwer Lytton ?" 
" Never," replied the young lady, rather shocked. 
"Then which is your favourite novelist ?" 
" James," she replied triumphantly. 
"Ah !" said my friend, reviving a little, "James is 
exciting." 

" Oh, yes ! we like his books so much ! Papa reads 
them aloud to us, but then he misses out all the exciting 
parts." 

After that my friend found his knife and fork better 
company than his neighbour. 

An acquaintance with old English literature is not 
perhaps indispensable, but it gives a man great advantage 



MORAL CHARACTER. 



67 



in all kinds of society, and in some lie is at constant loss 
without it. The same may be said of foreign literature, 
which in the present day is almost as much discussed as 
our own ; but, on the other hand, an acquaintance with 
home and foreign politics, with current history, and every 
subject of passing interest, is absolutely necessary; and a 
person of sufficient intelligence to join in good society cannot 
dispense with his daily newspaper, his literary journal, and 
the principal quarterly reviews and magazines. The cheap- 
ness of every kind of literature, the facilities of our well- 
stored circulating libraries, our public reading-rooms and 
numerous excellent lectures on every possible subject, leave 
no excuse to poor or rich for an ignorance of any of the 
topics discussed in intellectual society. You may forget 
your Latin, Greek, French, German, and Mathematics, but 
if you frequent good company you will never be allowed to 
forget that you are a citizen of the world. 

The respect for moral character is a distinguishing mark 
of good society in this country as compared with that 
of the Continent. No rank, no wealth, no celebrity will 
induce a well-bred English lady to admit to her drawing- 
room a man or woman whose character is known to be 
bad. Society is a severe censor, pitiless and remorseless. 
The woman who has once fallen, the man who has once 
lost his honour, may repent for years ; good society shuts 
its doors on them once and for ever. Perhaps this is the 
only case in which the best society is antagonistic to Chris- 
tianity ; but, in extenuation, it must be remembered that 
there is no court in which to try those who sin against it. 
Society itself is the court in which are judged those many 
offences which the law cannot reach, and this inclemency 
of the world, this exile for life which it pronounces, 



68 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

must be regarded as the only deterrent against certain 
sins. There is little or no means of punishing the seducer, 
the cheat, the habitual drunkard and gambler, and men 
and women who indulge in illicit pleasures, except this 
one verdict of perpetual expulsion pronounced by good 
society. Often is it given without a fair trial, on the 
report of a slanderer ; often it falls upon the wrong head ; 
often it proves its injustice in ignoring the vices of one and 
fulminating against those of another ; often, by its impla- 
cability, drives the offender to despair, and makes the one 
false step lead to the ruin of a life : but it must be 
remembered what interests society has to protect — the 
purity of daughters, wives, and sisters, the honour of sons ; 
it must be allowed that its means of obtaining evidence is 
very slight ; and that, on the other hand, it cannot institute 
an inquisition into the conduct of all its members, since the 
mere suspicion which such an inquiry would excite is 
sufficient to ruin a character that might prove to be inno- 
cent. Society, then, is forced to judge by common report, 
and though it may often judge wrongly, it generally errs 
on the safe side. What it still wants, and must perhaps 
always want, is some check on the slander and calumny 
which mislead its judgment. "We want some tribunal 
which, without blasting a reputation, can call to account 
the low sneak who lounges into a club-room, and, actuated 
by pique, whispers into a friend's ear, " in strictest confi- 
dence,' 1 some silly slur on a lady's character, knowing that 
it will pass from mouth to mouth, growing bigger and 
bigger, and that it can never be traced back to the original 
utterer. "We want to put down those old maids and 
dowagers who shake their cork-screw ringlets at the men- 
tion of a name, and look as if they knew a great deal 



CALUMNY. 



69 



which they would not tell. We want gossip and scandal 
to be held a sin, as it is already held bad taste, and a 
higher tone which shall reject as inventions the pot-house 
stories of grooms and lacqueys, and receive with greater 
caution the gossip of the club-room. How many a fair 
fame of a virtuous girl is ruined by the man she has 
rejected; how many an Iago lives and thrives in society to 
the present day ; how many a young man is blackened by a 
rival ; how many a man we meet in the best circles whose 
chambers are the scene of debauchery, or who carries on an 
illicit connexion in secret, unexposed. These things make 
us bitter to the world, but, if we cannot see the remedy, 
we must endure them silently. Oh ! if the calumniator, 
male or female, could be hanged as high as Haman, if the 
ninth commandment, like the eighth, could be punished 
with death, many a hopeful career were not blighted at its 
outset, many an innocent woman were not driven from her 
home and thrust into the very jaws of sin, and the world 
would be happier and far more Christian. 

In the meantime good society discountenances gossip, 
and that is all it can do for the present. Fathers and 
husbands must be careful whom they introduce to their 
families, and every one should beware how they repeat 
what has been told them of their neighbours*. There is in 
the church of Walton-on-Thames a kind of iron gag made 
to fit upon the face, and bearing this inscription : 

" Thys is a brydel 
For the women of Walton who speake so ydel." 

I know not what poor creature, blasted by a venomous 
tongue, invented and gave to the church this quaint relic ; 
J only wish that every parish church had one, and that 



70 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

every slanderer might be forced to wear it. One ! did I 
say 1 we should want a hundred in some parishes, all in use 
at the same time. 

A discourteous but well-merited reply which I heard the 
other day, reminds me that good temper is an essential of 
good society. A young lady, irritated because a gentleman 
would not agree with her on some matter, lost her balance, 
and irritably exclaimed, " Oh, Mr. A — , you have only 
two ideas in your head." " You are right," replied the 
gentleman, "I have only two ideas, and one of them is 
that you do not know how to behave yourself." 

Temper has a great deal to answer for, and it would 
take a volume to discuss its effect on the affairs of the 
world. It is a vice of old and young of both sexes, of 
high and low, even I may say of good and bad, though a 
person who has not conquered it scarcely merits the name 
of good, though he should regenerate mankind. Monarchs 
have lost kingdoms, maidens lovers, and everybody friends 
by the irritation of a moment, and in society a display of 
ill-temper is fatal to harmony, and thus destroys the first 
principle of social meetings. We pardon it, we overlook 
it, and sometimes it even amuses us, but, sooner or later, 
it must chill back love and freeze friendship. In short, it 
makes society unbearable, and is justly pronounced to be 
disgustingly vulgar. I used once to frequent the house of 
a man who had eveiy requisite for being charming but 
that of a command of temper. He gave dinner-parties 
which ought to have been most pleasant. He was well- 
educated, well-informed, well-mannered in every other re- 
spect. The first time I dined with him, before I had seen 
anything of this failing, I was horror-struck by hearing' 
him say to a servant, " Confound you, will you take that 



TEMPER. 



n 



dish to the other end !" Of course I paid no attention, 
but hoping to cover him, talked loudly and eagerly. It 
was useless. The servant blundered, and the master thun- 
dered, till at last there was a dead silence round the table, 
and we all looked down into our plates. The mistress 
of the house made the matter worse by putting in at last, 
" My dear Charles, do be moderate," and the irritable man 
only increased the awkwardness by an irritable reply. I 
overlooked this, and dined there again, but only once. 
This time it was his daughter who offended by some inno- 
cent remark. " Really you're quite a fool, Jane," he said, 
turning savagely upon her, and the poor girl burst into 
tears. Our appetites were spoiled, our indignation rose, 
and though we sat through the dinner, we all of us probably 
repeated Solomon's proverb about a dry morsel where love 
is, and a stalled ox with contention thereby, which I, for 
one, interpreted to mean that my chop and pint of ale at 
home would, for the future, be far more appetitlich than my 
friend's turtle and turbot. 

As there is nothing to which an Englishman clings so 
tenaciously as his opinions, there are few things which 
rouse the temper so rapidly as an argument. In good 
society all disputation is eschewed, and particularly that 
which involves party politics and sectarian religion. It is 
at least wise to discover what are the views of your com- 
pany before- you venture on these subjects. Zeal, however 
well-meant, must, as St. Paul warns us, often be sacrificed 
to peace ; and where you cannot agree, and feel that to reply 
would lead you into an argument, it is best to be silent. 
At the same time there are some occasions where silence 
is servile. No man should sit still to hear sacred things 
blasphemed, or his Mend abused. The gentleman must 



7 2 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

yield to the Man where an atheist reviles Christianity, a 
Chartist abuses the Queen, or anybody speaks ill of the 
listener's friend or relation. Even then he best marks his 
indignation by rising and leaving the room. Nor need any 
man fear the imputation of cowardice, if he curbs his anger 
at direct abuse of himself. " A soft answer turneth away 
wrath ;" and if he cannot check his own feelings sufficiently 
to reply in a conciliatory tone, no one can blame him if 
coolly and politely he expresses to his antagonist his opinion 
of his bad manners. The feeling of the company will always 
go with the man who keeps his temper, for not only does 
society feel that to vent wrath is a breach of its laws, but 
it knows, that to conquer one's-self is a far more difficult 
task than to overcome an enemy ; and that, therefore, the 
man who keeps his temper is really strong and truly 
courageous. In fact the Christian rule is here (as it should 
always be) that of society ; and the man who offers his left 
cheek to the blow, displays not only the rarest Christian 
virtue, but the very finest politeness, which, while it teems 
with delicate irony, at once disarms the attacker, and enlists 
the pity and sympathy, if not the applause, of the bystanders. 
Of course I speak of blows metaphorically. A blow with 
the hand is rarely if ever given in good society. 

Another case in which the Christian and the social rule 
coincide, if not in reality at least in appearance, is that of 
private animosities. Of the " cut," as a necessary social 
weapon, I shall speak elsewhere, but it now suffices to say, 
that when given for the first time with a view to breaking 
off an acquaintance, it should not be done conspicuously, 
nor before a number of people. Its object is not to wound 
and cause confusion, but to make known to the person 
« cut" that your feelings towards him are changed. In 



CtJTTllfG. 



73 



good society no one ever cuts another in such a manner as 
to be generally remarked, and the reason is obvious : It 
causes awkwardness and confusion in the rest of the com- 
pany. It is worse. Between a guest and host the relation 
is supposed to be friendly ; if not so, it can always be 
immediately discontinued ; so that generally the ill-will 
must be between one guest and another under the same 
roof. But what does it then amount to 1 Is it not a slur 
upon your host's judgment ? Is it not as much as to say, 
" This man is unfit for me to know ; and, since you are his 
friend, you must be unworthy of me too ?" At any rate, it 
is mortifying to a host to find that he has brought two 
enemies together, and, with the respect due from a guest 
to a host, you must abstain from making his house a field 
of battle. There is no occasion for hypocrisy. Politeness, 
cold and distant if you like it, can cost you nothing, and 
is never taken to mean friendship. In short, harmony and 
peace are the rules of good society, as of Christianity, and 
its denizens can and do throw aside the most bitter enmities 
when meeting on the neutral ground of a friend's house. 
Nor is the armistice without its value. Like that between 
Austria and France, it is not unfrequently followed by 
overtures of peace ; and I have known two people who had 
not interchanged two words for a score of years, shake 
hands before they left a house where they had been acci- 
dentally brought together. Had they not been well-bred 
this reconciliation could never have taken place. 

The relations of guest to guest are not so well under- 
stood in this country as on the Continent. There your 
host's friends are for the time your friends. When you 
enter a room you have a right to speak to, and be addressed 
by, everybody present. The friendship of your host, de- 
K 



74 (THE SPIEIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

clared, as it were, in his inviting them there, is a sufficient 
recommendation and introduction to every one of his guests. 
If you and they are good enough for him to invite, you and 
they are good enough for each other to know, and it is, 
therefore, an insult to your host to remain next to a person 
for a long time without addressing him. In exclusive 
England we require that our host or hostess shall give a 
special introduction to every guest, but in the best society 
this is not absolutely necessary. Exclusiveness is voted to 
be of bad style ; and two people who sat next to one 
another for a long time, with no one to talk to, would be 
thought ill-bred as well as ridiculous if they waited for the 
formal introduction to exchange a few words, at least at a 
party where conversation was the mam object. 

As we boast of English hospitality, it is a wonder that 
we do not better observe the relations of host and guest. 
On the Continent any man, whether you know him or not, 
who has crossed your threshold with friendly intent, is your 
guest, and you are bound to treat him as one. In England 
a friend must introduce him, unless he has the ingenuity of 
Theodore Hook, who always introduced himself where there 
was a dinner going on, and managed to make himself wel- 
come, too ; but among ill-bred people even this introduction 
does not suffice, and the vulgar often take pride to them- 
selves in proving that their houses are their castles. A late 
neighbour of mine, of somewhat peppery temper, used to 
tell with glee how he had turned out of his house a gentle- 
man — an innocent but not attractive man — who had been 
brought there by a common friend, but whom he did not 
wish to know. I often thought, when I heard the tale 
repeated, " How little you think you are telling a story 
against yourself !" So, too, when Arabella, speaking of 



REQUISITES OF GOOD SOCIETY. 



75 



Charles, with whom she has quarrelled, tells me so proudly, 
" I cut him last night dead, and before the whole party, to 
his utter confusion," I whisper to myself, " He may richly 
have deserved the punishment, but I would not hare been 
the executioner." In fact, whether as host or guest, we 
must remember the feelings of the rest of the company, and 
that a show of animosity between any of them always mars 
the sense of peaceful enjoyment, for which all have met. 
To pick a quarrel, to turn your back on a person, to cut 
him openly, or to make audible remarks on him, are dis- 
plays of temper only found in vulgar society. 

The other requisites indispensable for good society will be. 
found in various chapters of this work. Confidence, calm, 
and good habits, are treated in the chapter on carriage. 
Good manners is, more or less, the subject of the whole 
book, and appropriate dress, another indispensable, is dis- 
cussed under that head. Accomplishments, on whicli I 
have given a chapter, are not generally considered indis- 
pensable, and certainly a man or woman of good education 
and good breeding could pass muster without them. But 
they lend a great charm to society, and in some cases are a 
very great assistance to it. Indeed, there are some accom- 
plishments an ignorance of which, may prove extremely 
awkward. Perhaps, however, the most valuable accom- 
plishment, or rather art, especially in persons of full age, is 
that of making society easy, and of entertaining. Eules 
and hints for this will be given in various sections, but I 
may here say that it is an art which demands no little 
labour and ingenuity, and if anybody imagines that the 
offices of host and hostess are sinecures, he is greatly 
mistaken. The great principle is that of movement. Ac- 
cording to the atomic theory, warmth and brilliance are 



7 6 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

gained by the rapidity of the atoms about one another. 
We are only atoms in society after all, and we certainly 
get both warmth and brilliance when we revolve round 
each other in the ball-room. But it is rather mental move- 
ment that I refer to just now, although the other is by no 
means unimportant, and the host and hostess should, when 
possible, be continually shifting their places, easily and 
gracefully, talking to everybody more or less, and inducing 
others to move. But there must be something for the 
minds of those assembled to dwell upon ; something to 
suggest thought, and thus generate conversation. If the 
host or hostess have themselves the talent, they should do 
this by continually leading the conversation, not after the 
manner of Sydney Smith, who, while dinner was going 
on, allowed Mackintosh, Jeffrey, and Stewart, to fall into 
vehement discussion, while he himself quietly made an 
excellent meal, and prepared for better things. The mo- 
ment the cloth was removed, which was done in those days, 
the jovial wit, happier than his companions who had had 
more of the " feast of reason and the flow of soul" than 
of beef and mutton, would look up and make some totally 
irrelevant and irresistible remark, and having once raised 
the laugh, would keep an easy lead of the conversation to 
the end. But if they have not this art, it is highly desir- 
able that dinner-givers should invite their regular talker, 
who, like the Roman parasite, in consideration of a good 
dinner, will always be ready with a fresh topic in case of a 
lull in the conversation, and always be able to introduce it 
with something smart and lively. There is a hotel in the 
city where a certain number of broken-down ecclesiastics 
are always " on hand" with a couple of sermons in pocket. 
If a clergyman is called suddenly out of town, or taken ill 



TO DINNER- GIVERS. 



77 



on the Saturday night, or hindered from preaching by 
any accident, he has only to send down a messenger and a 
reverend gentleman flies to him : the sermon is at his service 
for the sum of one guinea, or less. Would it not answer to 
institute a similar establishment for the benefit of dinner- 
givers ? The only question the cleric asks is, " High or 
low?" He has a sermon in each pocket, " high" in the 
right, " low" in the left, and produces the proper article, 
if he does not- by mistake forget which is in which, and 
astound an evangelical congregation with the " symbols of 
the Church," or a Tractarian one with the " doctrine of 
election." In the same way, the conviva would be always 
ready, in full dress, at six in the evening, and having 
put the question, " Serious or gay, "Whig or Tory 1 ?" bring 
out his witticisms accordingly. We do everything now-a- 
days with money. Mr. Harker gives out our toasts, our 
servants carve and give out the wine for us. The host sits 
at the head or side of his table, and only smiles and talks. 
The next generation will make a further improvement, and 
the host will hire a gentleman to do even the smiling and 
talking, or, like the Emperor Augustus, he will just look in 
on his guests at the middle of dinner, ask if the entremets 
are good, and go to his easy-chair again in the library. Of 
the art of entertaining on various occasions I shall treat 
under the proper heads, and we come now to the dispens- 
ables of good society, which I take to be wealth, rank, 
birth, and talent. 

Of birth there is little to say, because, if a man is fit for 
good society, it can make very little difference whether his 
father were a chimney-sweep or a chancellor, at least to 
sensible people. Indeed, to insist on good birth in England 
would not only shut you out from enjoying the society of 



78 



THE SPIEIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 



people of no ordinary stamp, but is now generally considered 
as a cowardly way of asserting your superiority. A young 
lady said to me the other day, " I wonder you can visit the 
O.'s ; their mother was a cook." " Well," said I, " it 
is evident she did not bring them up in the kitchen." 
My interlocutrix wore the name of a celebrated poet, and 
was of one of the oldest families in England, but I confess 
that I thought her remark that of a snob, the more so as 
the O.'s happened to be the most agreeable people I knew. 

The advantages of wealth are considerable in the forma- 
tion of society. In this country, where hospitality means 
eating and drinking, it demands money to receive your 
friends ; and in London, where a lady can with difficulty 
walk in the streets unaccompanied, a carriage of some sort, 
in which to visit them, becomes almost a necessity if you are 
to mix much in the world. But good society would be very 
limited if every man required his brougham or cabriolet. 
In the metropolis, again, a man-servant is almost indispens- 
able, though not quite ; and if you have the moral courage 
to do without one you will find that your small dinners — 
always better than large ones — will be more quietly served 
by women than by men. Londoners have still to learn that 
large pompous " feedings " are neither agreeable nor in good 
taste, and that evening meetings, for the purpose of con- 
versation, with as little ceremony as possible, are far less 
tedious, less bilious, and less expensive. 

They do these things better in Paris, where the dinner- 
party is an introduction of the nouveaux riches. There the 
£300 a year does not exclude its owners from the enjoy- 
ment of the best, even the highest society. They may be 
asked to every ball and dinner of the season, and are 
not expected to return them. A voiture de remise is good 



TVfTl'R 'F! WEALTH. 



79 



enough to take them even to the Tuileries. The size of 
their apartment is no obstacle to their assembling their 
friends simply for tea and conversation. If the rooms are 
elegantly furnished and arranged, and the lady of the house 
understands the art of receiving, and selects her guests 
rather for their manners and conversational powers than 
for position or wealth, their receptions may become fashion- 
able at no further expense than that of a few simple refresh- 
ments which are handed about. Even dances are given 
without suppers, and no one cares whether your household 
consists of a dozen lacqueys or a couple of maid-servants. 

" Mere wealth," says Mr. Hayward, truly enough, " can 
do little, unless it be of magnitude sufficient to constitute 
celebrity." He might have added, that wealth, without 
breeding, generally draws the attention of others to the want 
of taste of its possessor, and gives envy an object to sneer 
at. I remember an instance of this in a woman who had 
recently, with her husband, returned from Australia, with 
a large fortune. I met her at a ball in Paris : she was 
magnificently, almost regally dressed, and as she swept 
through the rooms people whispered, " That is the rich 

Mrs. ." I had not been introduced to her, and had 

no desire to be so, but I could not escape her vulgarity. 
On going to fetch a cup of chocolate from the buffet for 

my partner, I had to pass within a yard of Mrs. , who 

was gorging ices amid a crowd of rather inferior French- 
men ; there was not the slightest fear of my spilling the 
chocolate, and I was too far from her to spoil her dress, 
had I been awkward enough to do so ; but as I passed back, 
she suddenly screamed out, in very bad French, " Monsieur, 
Monsieur, quoi faites-vous, vous gatery mon robe ! " Of 
course everybody looked round, I bowed low, and begged her 



80 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

pardon, assuring her that there was not the slightest cause for 
alarm ; but she was not satisfied, and while I beat a retreat 
I heard her loud voice denouncing me as a " stupid fellow," 
and so forth, and I soon found that Mrs. was pro- 
nounced to be "atrociously vulgar" as well as immensely rich. 

I cannot think that rank is a recommendation to a man 
with any but vulgar people. Not every nobleman is a 
gentleman, and fewer still perhaps bear that character that 
would entitle them to a free entree among the well-bred. 
On the other hand, rank is a costly robe, which must be 
worn as modestly as possible, not to spoil that feeling of 
equality which is necessary to the ease of society. Some 
deference must be paid to it, and the man of rank who 
cannot forget it, will find himself as much in the way in a 
party of untitled people, as an elephant among a troop of 
jackals. If titles were as common in England as on the 
Continent, there would be less fear of a host devoting him- 
self to My Lord to the neglect of his other guests, or of 
those guests centering their attention on the one star. In 
Paris, it is only in the vulgar circles of the Chaussee 
d'Autin, that " Monsieur le Comte," or " Monsieur le Mar- 
quis," is shown off as a lion ; and in the well-bred circles 
in this country, the nobleman must be content with prece- 
dence, and the place of honour, and for the rest be as one 
of the company. In Southern G-ermany, the distinction is 
the other way ; the simple Herr is almost as remarkable as 
the man of title in England. In fact, everybody admitted 
to what is there called good society, has some title, whether 
by birth or office ; and a man must be highly distinguished 
by talents or achievements to have the entree of the Court. 
I found that the Esquire after my name was generally 
translated by Baron ; the tradesmen raised it to Graf, or 



THE LIOX. 



81 



Count ; and people who " knew all about it," called me 
" Herr Esquire von ." Something in the same way- 
are military titles allotted to civilians in some parts of 
America. A store-keeper becomes " Major \ " a merchant, 
" Colonel and a man of whom you are to ask a favour, 
is always a " General." 

JSTothing can be more ill-judged than lion-hunting. If 
the premiss with which I set out, that society requires real 
or apparent equality, be true, anything which raises a per- 
son on a pedestal unfits him for society. The men of 
genius are rarely gifted with social qualities, and the only 
society suited to them is that of others of the same calibre. 
If Shakspere were alive, and I acquainted with him, I 
would not ask him to an evening party \ or, if I did so, it 
should be with huge Ben, and half-a-dozen more from the 
" Mermaid," and thev. should have strict injunctions not to 
engross the conversation. If you must have a literary lion 
at your receptions, you should manage to have two or three, 
for you may be sure that they will behave less arrogantly 
in one another's presence ; or perhaps a better plan still, is 
to invite a score of critics to meet him ; you will then find 
your show beast as tractable and as quiet as his name-sake 
in the caresses of Van Amburgh or Wombwell. The man 
of science again, has too lofty a range of thought to de- 
scend to the ordinary topics of society ; and the bishop and 
distinguished general usually bear about with them the 
marks of their profession, which, for perfect ease and 
equality, should be concealed. Distinguished foreigners, 
if they are clean, and can talk English well, may be very 
agreeable, but your guests will often suspect them, and 
their names must be known in England to make them 
desirable in any point of view. 

L 



82 



THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 



Of rank and distinction, however, it may be said, in 
preference to wealth and mere birth, that they are, when 
seconded by character, absolute passports to good society. 
A title is presumed to be a certificate of education and 
good breeding, while a celebrity will often be pardoned for 
the want of both, in virtue of the talents and perseverance 
by which he has raised himself. Of the two, the latter 
excuses more our adulation. Rank is rarely gained by 
merit, and when it is so, it is swamped by it. Macaulay 
and Brougham have not gained a single step in the estima- 
tion of well-bred people by being raised to the peerage, and 
no one would hesitate for a moment between them and the 
untitled son of a Duke or Marquis. While, too, we natu- 
rally fear the epithet of " toady," if we cultivate noblemen 
only for the sake of their rank, we may well defend our- 
selves for the admiration which genius, perseverance, and 
courage excite. To women, again, distinction is less trying, 
since it takes them less out of their ordinary sphere. They 
are still women, still capable of enjoying society, with two 
exceptions, the blue-stocking and the esprit fort, neither of 
which should ever be admitted into good society. 

But while genius is scarcely a recommendation in social 
meetings, there are mental qualities nearly allied to it, 
which are the best we can bring to them ; I mean a think- 
ing mind and a ready wit. The most agreeable men and 
women are those who think out of society as well as in it ; 
those who have mind without affectation, and talents with- 
out conceit ; those who have formed, and can form fresh 
opinions on every subject, and to whom a mere word serves 
as the springing-board from which to rise to new trains of 
thought. Where people of this kind meet together, the 
commonest subjects become matters of interest, and the con- 



DEFINITION OF GOOD SOCIETY. 



S3 



versation grows rapidly to brilliance, even without positive 
wit. The man to whose mind everything is a suggestion, 
and whose words suggest something to everybody, is the 
best man for a social meeting. 

We have now seen what are, and what are not the requi- 
sites for good society. High moral character, a polished 
education, a perfect command of temper, good breeding, 
delicate feeling, good manners, good habits, and a good 
bearing, are indispensable. Wit, accomplishments, and 
social talents, are great advantages, though not absolutely 
necessary. On the other hand, birth is lost sight of, while 
wealth, rank, and distinction, so far from being desirable, 
must be carefully handled, not to be positively objection- 
able. We are now therefore enabled to offer a definition of 
good society. It is, the meeting on a footing of equality, 
and for the purpose of mutual entertainment, of men, of 
women, or men and women together, of good character, 
good education, and good breeding. 

But what is the real spirit of the observances which this 
society requires of its frequenters for the preservation of 
harmony and the easy intercourse of all of them 1 Cer- 
tainly, one may have a spotless reputation, a good educa- 
tion, and good breeding, without being either good in 
reality, or a Christian. But if we examine the laws which 
good society lays down for our guidance and governance, 
we shall find, without a doubt, that they are those which a 
simple Christian, desiring to regulate the meetings of a 
number of people who lacked the Christian feeling, would 
dictate. I am, of course, quite aware that good society 
will never make you a Christian. You may be charming 
in a party, and every one may pronounce you a perfect and 
agreeable gentleman ; but you may go home and get 



84 



THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 



privately intoxicated, or beat your wife, or be cruel to your 
children. If society finds you out, be sure it will punish 
you ; but society has no right to search your house, and in- 
trude upon your hearth, and, as you say, it may be long be- 
fore it finds you out. But, as far its as jurisdiction extends, 
good society can compel you, if not to be a Christian, at 
least to act like one. The difference between the laws of God 
and the laws of men, is, that the former address the heart 
from which the acts proceed, the latter, which can only judge 
from what they see, determine the acts without regard to 
the heart. The one waters the root, the other the branches. 

The laws of society are framed by the unanimous con- 
sent of men, and, in all essential points, they differ very 
little all over the world. The Turk may show his polite- 
ness by feeding you with his fingers, the Englishman by 
carving your portion for you ; but the same spirit dictates 
both — the spirit of friendliness, of goodwill. Thus, though 
the laws of society are necessarily imperfect, are moulded by 
traditional and local custom, and are addressed to the outer 
rather than the inner man, their spirit is invariably the 
same. The considerations which dictate them are reducible 
to the same law, and this law proves to be the fundamental 
one of Christian doctrine. Thus, what the heathen arrives 
at only by laws framed for the comfort of society, we pos- 
sess at once in virtue of our religion. And it is a great 
glory for a Christian to be able to say, that all refinement 
and all civilisation lead men — as far as their conversation 
is concerned — to the practice of Christianity. It is a great 
satisfaction to feel that Christianity is eminently the religion 
of civilisation and society. 

The great law which distinguishes Christianity from every 
other creed, that of brotherly love and self-denial, is esseu- 



CHRISTIANITY AND SOCIETY. 



85 



tially the law which we find at the basis of all social obser- 
vances. The first maxim of politeness is to be agreeable 
to everybody, even at the expense of one's own comfort. 
Meekness is the most beautiful virtue of the Christian ; 
modesty the most commendable in a well-bred man. Peace 
is the object of Christian laws ; harmony that of social 
observances. Self-denial is the exercise of the Christian; 
forgetfulness of self that of the w T ell-bred. Trust in one 
another unites Christian communities ; confidence in the 
good intentions of our neighbours is that which makes so- 
ciety possible. To be kind to one another is the object of 
Christian converse ; to entertain one another, that of social 
intercourse. Pride, selfishness, ill-temper, are alike opposed 
to Christianity and good-breeding. The one demands an 
upright life ; the other requires the appearance of it. The 
one bids us make the most of God's gifts and improve our 
talents ; the other will not admit us till we have done so by 
education. And to go a step farther ; as a Christian com- 
munity excludes sinners and unbelievers from its gatherings, 
so a social community excludes from its meetings those of 
bad character, and those who do not subscribe to its laws. 

But society goes farther, and appears to impose on its 
members a number of arbitrary rules, which continually 
restrict them in their actions. It tells them how they must 
eat and drink and dress, and walk and talk, and so on. 
We ought to be very thankful to society for taking so much 
trouble, and saving us so much doubt and confusion. But 
if the ordinances of society are examined, it will be found 
that while many of them are merely derived from custom 
and tradition, and some have no positive value, they all 
tend to one end, the preservation of harmony, and the pre- 
vention of one person from usurping the rights, or intruding 



86 THE SPIRIT OP SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

on the province of another. If it regulates your dress, it 
is that there may be an appearance of equality in all, and 
that the rich may not be able to flaunt their wealth in the 
eyes of their poorer associates. If, for instance, it says that 
you are not to wear diamonds in the morning, it puts a 
check upon your vanity. If it says you may wear them on 
certain occasions, it does not compel those who have none 
to purchase them. If society says you shall eat with a 
knife and fork, it is not because fingers were not made 
before forks, but because it is well known that if you were 
to use the natural fork of five prongs instead of the plated 
one of four, you would want to wash your hands after every 
dish. If she goes farther and says you shall not put your 
knife into your mouth, it is because she supposes that you, 
like ninety-nine out of every hundred of civilized beings, can 
taste the steel when you do so, and is surprised at your bad 
taste, and since she demands good taste she cannot think 
you fit for her court. Of course, she cannot stop to hear 
you explain that you find a particular enjoyment in the taste 
of steel, and that therefore on your part it is good not bad 
taste. She is by necessity forced to judge from appearance. 
If again she forbids you to swing your arms in walking, 
like the sails of a windmill, it is not because she finds any 
pleasure in pinioning you, but because beauty is a result of 
harmony, which is her first law, and she studies beauty, 
adopts the beautiful, and rejects the inelegant. That motion 
of the arms is not lovely, confess it. Society is quite right 
to object to it. Once more, if she dubs you vulgar for 
speaking in a loud harsh voice, it is because whatever be 
your case, other people have nerves which may be touched 
and heads which can ache, and your stentorian tones set 
the one vibrating and the other throbbing. In short, while 



PATEEF A TVTTTiT A S. 



87 



she may have many an old law that needs repealing, you 
will find that the greater number of her enactments are 
founded on very good and very Christian considerations. 
You will find that the more religious a man is, the more 
polite he will spontaneously become, and that too in every 
rank of life, for true religion teaches him to forget himself, 
to love his neighbour, and to be kindly even to his enemy, 
and the appearance of so being and doing, is what society 
demands as good manners. How can it ask more 1 How 
can it rip open your heart and see if with your bland smile 
and oily voice you are a liar and a hypocrite ? There is 
One who has this power — forget it not ! — but society must 
be content with the semblance. By your works men do 
and must judge you. 

Before I quit the demands of society, I must say a few 
words on the distinction she makes between people of differ- 
ent ages and different domestic positions • to wit, how she 
has one law for the bachelor, another for the benedict ; one 
for the maid, another for the matron ; one law, I mean, to 
regulate their privileges and to restrict their vagaries. 

Let us begin with that awful, stately, and majestic being, 
Paterfamilias Anglicanus ) the same who, having reached the 
age of perpetual snow, exacts our reverence and receives our 
awe ; the same who, finding his majesty lost on the vagabond 
Italian with the monkey and organ, resolves to crush him 
in a column of The Times; the same before whom not 
Mamma herself dares open that same newspaper j the same 
who warns her against encouraging the French count, for 
whom Mary Anne has taken such a liking, — who pooh-poohs 
the idea of a watering-place in summer, who frowns over 
the weekly bills, and talks of bankruptcy and ruin over the 
milliner's little account, who is Mamma's excuse with the 



88 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL .OBSERVANCES. 

sons, the daughters, and the servants — " your papa wishes 
it," she says, and there is not a word more, — who with a 
mistaken dignity raises up an impassable barrier between 
himself and his children, chilling back their tenderest ad- 
vances, receiving their evening kiss as a cold formality, and 
who, ah ! human heart ! when one of them is laid low, 
steals to the chamber of death privily and ashamed of his 
grief, turns down the ghastly sheet, and burying his head 
there pours out the only tears he has shed for so many 
a year. Poor father ! bitter, bitter is the self-reproach over 
that cold form now. What avails now the stern veto that 
bade her reject the handsome lover who had so poor a for- 
tune, and broke — ay broke her heart that beats no more ? 
Of what use was that cold severity which drove him to 
sea, who lies there now past all recal 1 Ah ! stern, hard, 
cold father ; so they thought you, so you seemed, and yet 
you meant it for the best, and you say you loved your children 
too well. Well, well, it is not all fathers who are like 
this. There is another species of the genus Paterfamilias 
Anglicanus, who is jovial, and merry, and blithe by his fire- 
side, whose children nestle round his knees, and who has a 
kiss and a word, and a kind soft smile for each. 

But what is the position of Paterfamilias in society ? 
Where is his place % Certainly not in the ball-room. If 
he comes there, he must throw aside his dignity, and delight 
in the pleasure of the young. He must be young himself. 
In his own house he must receive all comers merrily — the 
hal foldtre is to be a scene of mirth ; he must not damp 
your gaiety with his solemn gravity. He is as little missed 
from his wife's ball-room, as a mute from a wedding pro- 
cession j and yet he must be there to talk to chaperons, to 
amuse the elderly beaux, and, if necessary, to spread the 



THE MATRON. 



89 



card-table and form the rubber. At all events, lie never 
dances unless to make up a set in a quadrille. He is still 
less at home in the pic-nic, the matinee, and the fete, but 
he is great at the evening party, and all-important at the 
dinner. But even here there is a dignity proper to Pater- 
familias, which, while it should avoid stateliness, should 
scarcely descend to hilarity. He must not be a loud 
laugher or an inveterate talker. He is seen in his most 
trying light in his conduct to the young. While we excuse 
his antique fashion, which rather becomes him, and would 
laugh to see him in the latest mode of the day, while we 
are pleased with his old-fashioned courtesy, and would not 
have him talk slang or lounge on the sofa, we expect from 
him some consideration for the changes that have taken 
place since he courted his worthy spouse. Paterfamilias is 
too apt to insist that the manners and fashions of his spring 
were better than those of his winter are. He should be 
smiling to young women, and even a little gallant, and he 
should rejoice in their youthful mirth. But too often he 
is tempted to set down his younger brethren, too often he 
is a damper, and wished away. The dignity of Paterfa- 
milias should never interfere with the ease, though it may 
well check the impudence of youth. 

The Matron is tender to her own. How much I wish 
she was as tender to the pride of others. But one hen will 
always kill another's chickens if she has the opportunity, 
and Mrs. Jones will always pick to pieces Mrs. Brown's 
daughters. The Matron has many more social duties than 
Paterfamilias. It is she who arranges everything ; who selects 
the guests ; who, with her daughter's pen, invites them ; who 
receives their visits ; who looks after their comforts ; who, by 
her active attentions, keeps up the circulation in evening 
• M 



90 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

parties ; who orders dinner, and distributes the guests at it ; 
who introduces partners at balls with her daughter's assist- 
ance ; who engages the chaperons ; who herself must go, 
willing or not, to look after her Ada and her Edith at the 
ball, and sit unmurmuring to the end of the dance. But 
she is well repaid by their pleasure, and when Ada talks of 
the captain's attentions, and Edith tells her what the curate 
whispered, she is perfectly happy. The matron without 
children is a woman out of her sphere, and until her children 
are grown up, she is a young married woman, and not a 
matron. It is only when Ada " comes out" that her office 
commences. She must then in society be an appendage to 
her daughter, and forget herself. But in the evening-party 
and the dinner-party she takes a higher place, and in fact 
the highest, and whether as guest or host, it is to her that 
the most respect is shown ; she has a right to it, and it is 
her duty to keep it up. Still the matron appears more in 
her relation to her children than any other position, and 
in this her place in society is one that demands care. 
Great as her pride may be in her family, she has no right 
to be continually asserting their superiority to all other 
young people. This is particularly remarkable in her treat- 
ment of her grown-up sons ; and a mother should remember 
that when fully fledged, the young birds can take care of 
themselves. She has no right to tie them to her apron- 
string, and her fondness becomes foolish when she fears that 
poor Charles will catch cold at eight-and-twenty, or shrieks 
after James, because he will stroll away to his club. But 
when she assumes the dress and airs of youth, she becomes 
ridiculous. When once she has daughters presentable, she 
must forget to shine herself ; she should never, even if a 
widow, risk being her daughter's rival, and her conduct 



MARRIED WOMEN. 



91 



to young men must be that of a mother, rather than of a 
friend. 

Tt is very different in France, where the married woman 
is par excellence the woman of society, no matter what her 
age. But in England, the bearing of the married woman 
with grown-up children must be the calm dignity and affa- 
bility of the matron. The French have a proverb, " Faire 
la cour a la mere pour avoir la fiUef and I should strongly 
recommend the young man who wishes to succeed with a 
damsel, to show particular attentions to her mamma, A 
mother indeed does not expect you to leave her daughter's 
side in order to talk to her ; but be sure that such an act gains 
you much more goodwill than all the pretty speeches you 
could have made in that time to the daughter. And it is 
only kind too. As I have said, the mother's and chaperon's 
position is secondary when the daughter or protegee is pre- 
sent, at least in England ; but a good-natured man will take 
care that she does not feel it to be so. A good girl is always 
pleased to see proper respect and attention shown to her 
mother ; and when at breakfast the next morning, mamma 
says, " My dear, I like Mr. J ones very much ; he is a well- 
bred and agreeable young man ; I recommend you to cul- 
tivate him." And when Arabella exclaims, " Oh, mamma, 
the idea ! Mr. Jones indeed !" you may be sure the maternal 
praise is not lost upon her, and the idea is precisely one 
that she will allow to return to her mind. One of the most 
fattening dishes on which Master Cupid feeds, is that same 
praise bestowed by others. But whether you have an eye 
to Arabella or not, the chaperon ought not to be neglected. 

Now, what part young Benedict shall take in society 
depends on his young wife. If she be wise, she will not 
fret when he dances with pretty girls, and if he be kind he 



92 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

will not let the dance lead him into a flirtation. But Bene- 
dict may go everywhere, and need not sigh over the days 
of his celibacy. Only he must remember, that while he has 
gained some privileges, he has lost others. In the meetings 
of the young, for instance, he is less wanted than Ccelebs^ 
while, since he cannot be invited without his wife, he can no 
longer expect to fill the odd seat at dinner. On the other 
hand, he takes precedence of the bachelor, and is naturally 
a man of more weight, so that when he has passed his head 
under the yoke, he must be calmer, more sober, less frivo- 
lous, though not less lively than he was in the old " cham- 
bers" days. A great deal is forgiven to Ocelebs on account 
of his position. If he talks nonsense occasionally, it is his 
high spirits ; if he dances incessantly the whole evening, it 
is that he may please " those dear girls ;" if he dresses au 
'point de vice now and then, he is Claudio in love, lying 
sleepless for the night, " carving out a new doublet ; " if he 
hurries to the drawing-room after dinner, or is marked in 
his attentions to ladies, he is only on his promotion ; and 
if he has a few fast lounging habits, " it is all very well for 
the boys," says Paterfamilias, and in short, " a young fellow 
like that" may do a thousand things that Benedict the 
married man must abstain from. Greater than any change, 
however, is that of his relations to his own sex. Some 
married men throw all their bachelor friends overboard, 
when they take that fair cargo for which they have been 
sighing so long ; but I would not be one of such a man's 
friends. At the same time, I must expect to see less of 
Benedict than before. " Adieu the petit souper," he mur- 
murs, " the flying corks, the chorused song, the trips to 
Richmond and Greenwich, the high dog-cart, and the seat 
on the box of my friend's drag ! Adieu the fragrant weed, 



THE BACHELOK. 



03 



the cracking hunting-whip, the merry bachelor-dinner, and 
the late hours ! Shall I sigh over them 1 No, indeed ! Mrs. 
Jones is not only an ample compensation for such gaieties, 
but I am thankful to her for keeping me from them. 
Why, that little baby-face of hers, that pouts so prettily 
for a kiss when I come home, is worth a hundred dozens of 
champagnes, a thousand boxes of Hudson's best, and a score 
of the longest runs after reynard we ever had." Yes, Be- 
nedict, I envy thee, and if Beatrice be wise, she will not 
draw the reins too tight all at once ; and whatever she may 
say to hunting, she will see no harm in a mild Havana and 
a couple of bachelor friends to dinner now and then. But 
Benedict has not only changed his manner and his habits, 
he has got new duties, and where his wife goes he may go, 
and ought to go. He can no longer claim exemption from 
solemn dinners, from weary muffin-worries, and witless tea- 
parties. On the other hand, he will never be made use of, 
and his wife will furnish a ready excuse for refusing invita- 
tions which he had better not accept. Lastly, the young 
married man should never assume the gravity of Pater- 
familias, and though he is promoted above Ccelebs, he will 
take care not to snub him. 

What a happy man is Ccelebs ! The more I sit in my club- 
window, the more I feel convinced of this. It is true that 
I have never been married, and therefore know nothing of 
the alternative, but will make you a little confession, priestly 
reader — I have been once or twice vei^y near it. Free from 
incumbrance, Ccelebs is as irresponsible as a butterfly ; he 
can choose his own society, go anywhere, do anything, be 
early or late, gay or retired, mingle with men or with ladies, 
smoke or not, wear a beard or cut it off, and, if he likes, part 
his hair down the middle. What a happy man is Ccelebs ! 



94 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

free and independent as he is, he is as much courtea as a 
voter at an election ; he is for ever being bribed by mammas 
and feasted by papas ; nothing is complete without him ; he 
is the wit at the dinner, the "life" of the tea-fight, an 
absolute necessity in the ball-room, a sine qud non at fete 
and pic-nic, and welcome everywhere. Indeed, I don't know 
what society can do without him. The men want him for 
their parties, the ladies, I suppose I must not say, " still 
more" for theirs. The old like him because he is young, 
the young like him because he is not old ; and in short he 
is as much a necessity as the refreshments, and must be 
procured somehow or other. Then, too, if he does not care 
for these things, he can come and sit here in the club-win- 
dow; or he can travel, which Benedict seldom can ; or he 
can take to an occupation or an art, while the married man 
has no choice, and must work, if he work at all, to keep 
quiet the mouths of those blessed cherubim in the peram- 
bulator. 

But that which makes Ccelebs a happy man is, that he 
can enjoy society so much. If it be the bachelor-party, he 
is not there against his conscience with fear of a Caudle- 
lecture to spoil his digestion. If it is among ladies, he has 
the spice of galanterie to curry his conversation with, and 
as for dancing, he at least enjoys it as an introduction to 
flirtation. But perhaps his greatest privilege is the power 
of falling in love, for as long as that power lasts — which, 
heigh-ho ! is not for ever — there is no innocent pleasure 
which is greater. But Ccelebs has not always the privilege 
of falling out of love again, and if the married man has a 
wife to look after his doings, the bachelor is watched by 
chaperons, and suspected by papas. Poor Ccelebs, do not 
leave the matter too late ; do not say, " Hang me'in a bottle 



THE YOUNG LADY. 



95 



like a cat, and shoot at me," if ever I lose my heart. Be- 
lieve me, boy, the passion must be enjoyed when young. 
When you come to my age, Cupid won't waste an arrow on 
you, and if he did so, it would only make you ridiculous. 
Yes, the young bachelor is a happy man, but the old 
bachelor — let me stop, if I once begin on that theme, I 
shall waste three quires of paper, and tire you out. But 
if much is allowed to Coelebs, much is expected of him. 
He has not the substance of Benedict to back him up, not 
the respectability of wedded life, not the charms of his 
young wife to make amends for his deficiencies. The young 
bachelor is more than any man a subject for the laws of 
etiquette. Less than any will he be pardoned for neglect- 
ing them. He has no excuse to offer for their non-observ- 
ance. He must make himself useful and agreeable, must 
have accomplishments for the former, and talents for the 
latter, and is expected to show attention and respect to both 
sexes and all ages. 

Happier still is the young lady, for whom so many allow- 
ances are made, and who, in society, is supposed to do 
nothing wrong. To her the ball is a real delight, and the 
evening party much more amusing than to any one else. 
On the other hand, she must not frequent dinner-parties 
too much, particularly if she is very young, and in all cases 
she must consider modesty the prettiest ornament she cais 
wear. She has many privileges, but must beware how she 
takes advantage of them. To the old her manner must 
always be respectful and even affectionate. If she lacks 
beauty, she will not succeed without conversational powers ; 
and if she has beauty, she will soon find that wit is a 
powerful rival. With the two she may do what she will ; 
all men are her slaves. She must, however, have a smile 



9 5 THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

as well, for every person and eveiy occasion. Dignity 
she seldom needs, except to repel familiarity. Without a 
good heart her mind and her face will only draw envy and 
even dislike upon her. In England, the young lady is 
queen ; in France, the young married woman takes her place ; 
and though society can do without her, there is, in my 
opinion, no more charming companion than a young mar- 
ried woman. She has left off nonsense, and forgotten flir- 
tation, and she has gained from the companionship of her 
husband a certain strength of mind, which, tempered by her 
modest dignity, enables her to broach almost any subject 
with a man. She is at home everywhere, may dance in the 
ball-room, and talk at the dinner-table, and the respect 
due to her position enables her to be more free in her 
intercourse without fear of remark. In short, if a man 
wishes for sensible conversation, with gentleness and beauty 
to lend it a charm, he must look for it in young married 
women. 

Of the elderly unmarried lady — for of course there is no 
such thing as an " old maid" — I decline, from a feeling of 
delicacy, to say anything. 

I shall conclude this piece de resistance with a few part- 
ing remarks on the art of making one's-self agreeable. I 
take it that the first thing necessary is to be in good spirits, 
or at least in the humour for society. If you have any 
grief or care to oppress you, and have not the strength of 
will to throw it off, you do yourself an injustice by enter- 
ing the society of those who meet for mutual entertainment. 
Nay, you do them too a wrong, for you risk becoming what 
is commonly known as a " damper." The next point is to 
remember that the mutual entertainment in society is ob- 
tained by conversation. For this you require temper, of 



THE ART OF MAKING ONE'S-SELF AGREEABLE. 97 

which I have already spoken • confidence, of which I shall 
speak elsewhere ; and appropriateness, which has been treated 
under the head of " Conversation." I have already said,, 
that that man is the most agreeable to talk to, who thinks 
out of society as well as in it. It will be necessary to 
throw off all the marks and feelings of your profession and 
occupation, and surround yourself, so to speak, with a purely 
social atmosphere. You must remember that society re- 
quires equality, real or apparent, and that all professional 
or official peculiarities militate against this appearance of 
equality. You must, in the same way, divest yourself of 
all feeling of superiority or inferiority in rank, birth, position, 
means, or even acquirements. You must enter the social 
ranks as a private. If you earn your laurels by being 
agreeable, you will, in time, get your commission. Having 
made this mental preparation, having confidence without 
pride, modesty without shyness, ease without insolence, 
and dignity without stiffness, you may enter the drawing- 
room, and see in what way you may best make yourself 
agreeable. 

The spirit with which you must do so is one of general 
kindliness and self-sacrifice. You will not, therefore, select 
the person who has the most attractions for you, so much 
as any one whom you see neglected, or who, being not quite 
at his or her ease, requires to be talked into confidence. 
On the same principle, you will respect prejudices ; you 
will take care to ascertain them, before coming, on subjects 
on which people feel strongly. Then you will not open a 
conversation with a young lady by abusing High or Low 
Church, nor with an elderly gentleman by an attack on 
Whig or Tory. You will not rail against babies to a mar- 
ried woman, nor sneer at modern literature to a man with 



98 



THE SPIRIT OF SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 



a beard, for if he is not a Crimean officer, he is sure to be 
an author. 

In like spirit you will discover and even anticipate the 
wants of others, particularly if you are a man. On first 
acquaintance, you will treat every one with particular 
respect and delicacy, not rushing at once into a familiar 
joke, or roaring like a clown. Your manner will be calm — 
because if you have no nerves, other people have them — 
and your voice gentle and low. Oh ! commend me to an 
agreeable voice, especially in a woman. It is worth any 
amount of beauty. The tone, too, of your conversation and 
style of your manner will vary with the occasion. While 
it will be sensible and almost grave at table, it will be 
merry and light at a pic-nic. 

Your attention, again, must not be exclusive. However 
little you may enjoy their society, you will be as attentive 
to the old as to the young ; to the humble as to the grand ; 
to the poor curate, for instance, as to the M.P. ; to the 
elderly chaperon as to her fair young charge. In this man- 
ner you not only evince your good-breeding, but often do a 
real kindness in amusing those who might otherwise be very 
dull. On some occasions, particularly when a party is 
heavy and wants life, you will generalize the conversation, 
introducing a subject in which all can take an interest, and 
turning to them all in general. On the other hand, when, 
as in a small party, the conversation is by necessity gene- 
ral, you will particularly avoid talking to one person exclu- 
sively, or mentioning people, places, or things, with which 
only one or two of them can be acquainted. For instance, 
if at a morning call there happen to be two or three strangers 
at the same time, it is bad taste to talk about Mr. this or 
Mr. that. It is far better to have recourse to the news- 



MANNERS. 



99 



papers, which everybody is supposed to have read, or to 
public affairs, in which everybody can take more or less 
interest. 

But it is not in your words only that you may offend 
against good taste. Your manners, your personal habits, 
your very look even may give offence. These, therefore, 
must not only be studied, but if you have the misfortune 
to be with people who are not accustomed to refined man- 
ners, and to find that insisting on a particular refinement 
would give offence, or cast an imputation on the rest, it is 
always better to waive a refinement than to hurt feelings, 
and it sometimes becomes more ill-bred to insist on one 
than to do without it. For instance, if your host and his 
guest dine without dinner napkins, it would be very bad 
taste to call for one, or if, as in Germany, there be no 
spoons for the salt, you must be content to use your knife 
or fork as the rest do. "To do in Rome as the Romans 
do," applies to every kind of society. At the same time, 
you can never be expected to commit a serious breach of 
manners because your neighbours do so. You can never 
be called on in America to spit about the room, simply 
because it is a national habit. 

But what you should do, and what not, in particular 
cases, you will learn in the following chapters. I have 
only now to say, that if you wish to be agreeable, which is 
certainly a good and religious desire, you must both study 
how to be so, and take the trouble to put your studies into 
constant practice. The fruit you will soon reap. You 
will be generally liked and loved. The gratitude of those 
to whom you have devoted yourself will be shown in 
speaking well of you ; you will become a desirable addi- 
tion to every party, and whatever your birth, fortune, or 



100 THE SPIRIT OP SOCIAL OBSERVANCES. 

position, people will say of you, " He is a most agreeable 
and well-bred man," and be glad to introduce you to good 
society. But you will reap a yet better reward. You will 
have in yourself the satisfaction of having taken trouble 
and made sacrifices in order to give pleasure and happiness 
for the time to others. How do you know what grief or 
care you may not obliterate, what humiliation you may not 
alter to confidence, what anxiety you may not soften, what- — 
last, but really not least — what intense dulness you may not 
enliven % If this work assists you in becoming an agreeable 
member of good society, I shall rejoice at the labour it 
has given me. 



PART L— THE INDIVIDUAL. 



CHAPTEK I. 

INSIDE THE DRESSING-ROOM. 

There are several passages in Holy Writ which have been 
shamefully, I may almost say, ludicrously misapplied, 
Thus when we want a scriptural authority for making as 
much money as possible in an honest way, we quote St. 
Paul, " Not slothful in business," forgetting that the word 
" business" had once a far wider meaning, and that the 
Greek, for which it is placed, means really " zeal," that is, 
in God's work. But the most impudent appropriation is 
that of cleanliness being next to godliness, and the apostle 
is made to affirm that if you cannot be religious, you 
should at least wear a clean shirt. Of course, a reference 
to the Greek would show in a moment that purity of mind 
and heart are meant, and that " cleanliness" was once the 
proper English for " purity." 

Though we have no right to claim scriptural authority 
for soap and water, we cannot agree with Thomas of Ely, 
who tells us that Queen Ethelreda was so clean of heart 
as to need no washing of the body ; nor can we believe that 
the loftiness of Lady Mary Wortley Montague's sentiments 
at all replaced the brush and comb, towel and basin, to 
which the liveliest woman of her day had such a strange 
aversion. It was she who, when some one said to her at 
the opera, " How dirty your hands are, my lady !" she 
101 



102 



INSIDE THE DEESSING-EOOM. 



replied with naive indifference, " What would you say if 
you saw my feet ?" 

Genius, love, and fanaticism, seem partial to dirt. Every 
one knows what a German philosopher looks like, and 
Werther showed his misery by wearing the same coat and 
appendices for a whole year. As to the saints, they were 
proud of their unchanged flannel, and the monk was never 
made late for matins by the intricacy of his toilet. St. 
Simeon of the Pillar is an instance of the common opinion 
of his day, that far from cleanliness being next to godliness, 
the nearest road to heaven is a remarkably dirty one. 
Perhaps, however, he trusted to the rain to cleanse him, 
and he was certainly a user of the shower-bath, which 
cannot be said of many a fine gentleman. Eeligion, how- 
ever, is not always accompanied with neglect of the person. 
The Brahman bathes twice a day, and rinses his mouth 
seven times the first thing in the morning. It is strange 
that Manu, while enumerating the pollutions of this world, 
should have made the exception of a woman's mouth, 
which he tells us is always clean. Probably the worthy 
old Hindu was partial to osculation, but it is certain that 
there can be no Billingsgate in India. 

In the beginning of the present century, it was thought 
proper for a gentleman to change his under garment three 
times a day, and the washing bill of a beau comprised 
seventy shirts, thirty cravats, and pocket-handkerchiefs 
a discretion. What would Brummell say to a college chum 
of mine who made a tour through Wales with but one 
flannel shirt in his knapsack 1 The former's maxim was, 
" linen of the finest quality, plenty of it, and country 
washing." Fine linen has always been held in esteem, but 
it did not save Dives. 

Cleanliness is a duty to one's-self for the sake of health, 
and to one's neighbour for the sake of agreeableness. Dirti- 
ness is decidedly unpleasant to more than one of the 
senses, and a man who thus offends his neighbour is not 
free from guilt, though he may go unpunished. But if 



CLEANLINESS. 



103 



these reasons were not sufficient, there is another far stronger 
than both. St. Simeon Stylites may have preserved a pure 
mind in spite of an absence of ablutions, but we must not 
lose sight of the influence which the body has over the 
soul, an influence, alas, for man ! sometimes far too great. 
We are convinced that bad personal habits have their effect 
on the character, and that a man who neglects his body, 
which he loves by instinct, will neglect far more his soul, 
which he loves only by command. 

There is no excuse for Brummell's taking more than 
two hours to dress. It was in his case mere vanity, and 
he was — and was content to be — one of the veriest show- 
things in the world, as useless as the table ornaments on 
which he wasted the money he was not ashamed to take 
from his friends. On the other hand, when a young lady 
assures me that she can dress in ten minutes, I feel con- 
fident that the most important part of the toilet must be 
neglected. The morning toilet means more than a mere 
putting on of clothes, whatever policemen and French 
concierges may think. 

The first thing to be attended to after rising is the bath. 
The vessel which is dignified, like a certain part of lady's 
dress, with a royal Order, is one on which folios might be 
written. It has given a name to two towns — Bath and 
Baden — renowed for their toilets, and it is all that is left 
in three continents of Koman glory. It is a club-room in 
Germany and the East, and was an arena in Greece and 
Rome. It was in a bath that the greatest destroyer of life 
had his own destroyed, when he had bathed all France in 
blood. But Clarence, I am convinced, has been much 
maligned. He has been called a drunkard, and people 
shudder at his choosing that death in which he could not 
but die in sin ; but for my part, so far as the Malmsey is 
concerned, I am inclined to think that he only showed him- 
self a gentleman to the last. He was determined to die 
clean, and he knew, like the Parisian ladies — which we 
should perhaps spell Idides — who sacrifice a dozen of cham* 



104 



INSIDE THE DKESSING-ROOM. 



pagne to their morning ablutions, that wine has a pecu- 
liarly softening effect upon the skin. Besides champagne, 
the exquisites of Paris use milk,* which is supposed to lend 
whiteness to the skin. The expense of this luxury is con- 
siderably diminished by an arrangement with the milkman, 
who repurchases the liquid after use. I need scarcely add, 
that in Paris I learned to abjure cafe au lait, and to drink 
my tea simple. 

The bath deserves an Order, and its celebrity. It is of 
all institutions the most unexceptionable. Man is an am- 
phibious animal, and ought to pass some small portion of 
each day in the water. In fact, a large, if not the larger 
proportion of diseases arises from leaving the pores of the 
skin closed, whether with natural exudation or matter from 
without, alias dirt. It is quite a mistake to suppose, and 
the idea must at once be done away with, that one is to 
wash because one is dirty. We wash because we wear 
clothes ; in other words, because we are obliged to remove 
artificially what would otherwise escape by evaporation. 
We wash again, because we are never in a state of perfect 
health, although with care we might be so. Were our 
bodies in perfect order — as the Swedenborgians inform us 
that those of the angels are — we should never need wash- 
ing, and "the bath would chill rather than refresh us, so 
that, perhaps, man is by necessity and degradation — not by 
destination — an amphibious creature. 

However this may be, we must not suppose, because a 
limb looks clean, that it does not need washing, and how- 
ever white the skin may appear, we should use the bath 
once a day at least, and in summer, if convenient, twice. 

The question now arises, What kind of bath is best ? and 
it must be answered by referring to the person's constitu- 
tion. If this is weak and poor, the bath should be 
strengthening ; but at the same time it must be remem- 



* The late Duke of Queensberry had his milk-bath every day. It 
is supposed to nourish as well as whiten and soften the skin. 



THE BATH. 



105 



bered, that while simple water cleanses, thicker fluids are 
apt rather to encumber the skin, so that a tonic bath is not 
always a good one. This is the case with the champagne, 
milk, mud, snake, and other baths, the value of which en- 
tirely depends on the peculiar state of health of the patient, 
so that one person is cured, and another killed by them. 
The same is to be said of sea-bathing, and the common 
bath even must be used with reference to one's condition. 

The most cleansing bath is a warm one of from 96° to 
100°, into which the whole body is immersed. If cleansing 
alone be the aim, the hotter the water the better, up to 
108°. It expands the pores, dives well into them, and in- 
creases the circulation for the time being. But since it is an 
unnatural agent, it exhausts the physical powers, and leaves 
us prostrate. For health, therefore, it should be sparingly 
indulged in, except in persons of rapid and heated circula- 
tion. Even with such, it should be used with discretion, 
and the time of remaining in the bath should never exceed 
a few minutes. 

The cold bath of from 60° to 70°, on the other hand, 
cleanses less, but invigorates more. It should therefore be 
avoided by persons of full temperament, and becomes really 
dangerous after eating, or even after a long rest following 
a heavy meal. If you have supped largely over night, or 
been foolish, perhaps I may say wrong enough, to drink 
more than your usual quantity of stimulating liquids, you 
should content yourself with passing a wet sponge over the 
body. 

A tepid bath, varying from 85° to 95°, is perhaps the 
safest of all, but we must not lose sight of health in the 
desire for comfort. The most healthy, and one of the 
handsomest men I ever saw, and one who at sixty had not 
a single grey hair, was a German, whose diet being 
moderate, used to bathe in running water at all seasons, 
breaking the ice in winter for his plunge. Of the shower 
bath, I will say nothing, because I feel, that to recommend 
it for general use, is dangerous, while for such a work as 
o 



106 



INSIDE THE DRESSING-BOOM. 



this, which does not take health as its main subject, ifc 
would be out of place to go into the special cases. 

The best bath for general purposes, and one which can 
do little harm, and almost always some good, is a sponge 
bath. It should consist of a large flat metal basin, some 
four feet in diameter, filled with cold water. Such a vessel 
may be bought for about fifteen shillings. A large coarse 
sponge — the coarser the better — will cost another five or 
seven shillings, and a few Turkish towels, complete the 
" properties." The water should be plentiful and fresh, 
that is, brought up a little while before the bath is to be 
used ; not placed over night in the bed-room. Let us 
wash and be merry, for we know not how soon the supply 
of that precious article which here costs nothing may be 
cut off. In many continental towns they buy their water, 
and on a protracted sea voyage the ration is often reduced 
to half a pint a day for all purposes, so that a pint per 
diem is considered luxurious. Sea- water, we may here ob- 
serve, does not cleanse, and a sensible man who bathes in 
the sea will take a bath of pure water immediately after it. 
This practice is shamefully neglected, and I am inclined to 
think, that in many cases a sea-bath will do more harm 
than good without it, but if followed by a fresh bath, 
cannot but be advantageous. 

Taking the sponge bath as the best for ordinary pur- 
poses, we must point out some rules in its use. The sponge 
being nearly a foot in length, and six inches broad, must 
be allowed to fill completely with water, and the part of 
the body which should be first attacked is the stomach. 
It is there that the most heat has collected during the 
night, and the application of cold water quickens the 
circulation at once, and sends the blood which has been 
employed in digestion round the whole body. The head 
should next be soused, unless the person be of full habit, 
when the head should be attacked before the feet touch the 
cold water at all. Some persons use a small hand shower 
bath, which is less powerful than the common shower 



THE TEETH. 



107 



bath, and does almost as much. good. The use of soap " 1 
the morning bath is an open question. I confess a prefer- 
ence for a rough towel or a hair glove. Brummell patron- 
ized the latter, and applied it for nearly a quarter of an 
hour every morning. 

The ancients followed up the bath by anointing the 
body, and athletic exercises. The former is a mistake ; 
the latter an excellent practice shamefully neglected in the 
present day. It would conduce much to health and 
strength if every morning toilet comprised the vigorous 
use of the dumb-bells, or, still better, the exercise of the 
arms without them. The best plan of all is, to choose 
some object in your bedroom on which to vent your 
hatred, and box at it violently for some ten minutes, till 
the perspiration covers you. The sponge must then be 
again applied to the whole body. It is very desirable to 
remain without clothing as long as possible, and I should 
therefore recommend that every part of the toilet which 
can conveniently be performed without dressing, should 
be so. 

The next duty, then, must be to clean the Teeth. 
Dentists are modern inquisitors, but their torture -rooms are 
meant only for the foolish. Everybody is born with good 
teeth, and everybody might keep them good by a proper 
diet, and the avoidance of sweets and smoking. Of the 
two the former are perhaps the more dangerous. Nothing 
ruins the teeth so soon as sugar in one's tea, and highly 
sweetened tarts and puddings, and as it is le premier ,^as 
qui co4te, these should be particularly avoided in childhood. 
When the teeth attain their full growth and strength it 
takes much more to destroy either their enamel or their 
substance. 

It is upon the teeth that the effects of excess are first 
seen, and it is upon the teeth that the odour of the breath 
depends. What is more repulsive than a woman's smile 
discovering a row of black teeth, unless it be the rank 
smell of the breath 1 Both involve an offence of your 



108 



INSIDE THE DEESSING-EOOM. 



neighbour's most delicate senses, and neither can therefore 
be pardoned. If I may not say that it is a Christian duty 
to keep your teeth clean, I may at least remind you that you 
cannot be thoroughly agreeable without doing so. Ladies 
particularly must remember that men love with their eyes, 
and perhaps I may add with their noses, and that these 
details do not escape them. In fact, there are few details 
in women that do escape their admirers, and if Brummell 
broke off his engagement because the young lady ate 
cabbages, there are numbers of men in the present day who 
would be disgusted by the absence of refinement in such small 
matters as the teeth. Let words be what they may, if they 
come with an impure odour, they cannot please. The butter- 
fly loves the scent of the rose more than its honey. 

The beau just mentioned used a red root, which is of 
oriental origin. It is not so penetrating as a good hard 
tooth-brush, with a lather of saponaceous tooth-powder 
upon it. The Hindus, who have particularly white teeth, 
use sticks of different woods according to their caste ; but 
perhaps a preparation of soap is the best thing that can be 
employed. The teeth should be well rubbed inside as well 
as outside, and the back teeth even more than the front. 
The mouth should then be rinsed, if not seven times, according 
to the Hindu legislator, as least several times, with fresh cold 
water. This same process should be repeated several times 
a day, since eating, smoking, and so forth, naturally render 
the teeth and mouth dirty more or less, and nothing can be 
so offensive, particularly to ladies, whose sense of smell 
seems to be keener than that of the other sex, and who 
can detect at your first approach whether you have been 
drinking or smoking. But if only for your own comfort, 
you should brush your teeth both morning and even- 
ing, which is quite requisite for th,e preservation of their 
soundness and colour ; while if you are to mingle with 
others, they should be brushed, or at least the mouth well 
rinsed after every meal, still more after smoking, or drink- 
ing wine, beer, or spirits. No amount of general attractive- 



THE NAILS. 



109 



ness can compensate for an offensive odour in the breath ; 
and none of the senses is so fine a gentleman, none so un- 
forgiving if offended, as that of smell. The following 
reproof was well-merited, if not polite. " I have had the 
wind in my teeth all the way," said an Irishman, after a 
brisk walk on a breezy morning, before which he had been 
indulging his propensity to onions. "Well, sir," replied 
his friend, who at once perceived how he had breakfasted, 
u I must say that the wind had the worst of it." 

The custom of allowing the nails to grow as a proof of 
freedom from the necessity of working, which is most ab- 
surdly identified with gentility, is not peculiar to China. 
In some parts of Italy the nails of the left hand are never 
cut till they begin to break, and a Lombard of my acquaint- 
ance once presented me a huge nail which he had just cut, 
and which I must do him the justice to say was perfectly 
white. I admired it, and threw it away. " What 1" cried 
he indignantly, " is that the way you receive the greatest 
proof of friendship which a man can give you ?" and he 
then explained to me that in his native province the nail 
held the same place as a lock of hair with us. I really 
doubt which has the preference, and whether a Lothario's 
desk filled with -little oily packets of different-coloured hair 
is at all more romantic than a box of beloved finger-nails. 
Certainly there is beauty in a long silken tress, the golden 
tinge reminding us of the fair head of some lost child so 
like its mother's, or in the rich dark curl that, in the boldest 
hour of love, we raped from her head, who was then so 
confidently ours, and now — What is she now ? But even 
this fancy can take a very disagreeable form, and what can 
we say of an ardent hopeless lover whom I once knew, and 
who I was assured gave a guinea to a lady's-maid for the 
stray hairs left in her mistress' comb ! 

But though we may not be cultivating our nails either to 
tear a rival's face with, or to confer with a majestic conde- 
scension on some importunate admirer, we are not absolved 
from paying strict attention to their condition, and that 



110 



INSIDE THE DRESSING-ROOM. 



both as regards cleaning and cutting. The former is best 
done with a liberal supply of soap on a small nail-brush, 
which should be used before every meal, if you would not 
injure your neighbour's appetite. While the hand is still 
moist, the point of a small pen-knife or pair of stumpy nail- 
scissors should be passed under the nails so as to remove 
every vestige of dirt ; the skin should be pushed down 
with a towel, that the white half -moon may be seen, and 
the finer skin removed with the knife or scissors. Occasion- 
ally the edges of the nails should be filed, and the hard 
skin which forms round the corners of them cut away. 
The important point in cutting the nails is to preserve the 
beauty of their shape. That beauty even in details is 
worth preserving I have already remarked, and we may 
study it as much in paring our nails, as in the grace of 
our attitudes, or any other point. The shape, then, of the 
nail should approach as nearly as possible to the oblong. 
The oriental ladies know this, and allow the nail to grow to 
an enormous length, and bend down towards the finger. 
But then they cultivate beauty in every detail, for, poor 
things, they have none but personal attractions to depend 
on ; and they give to the pink nail a peculiar lustre by the 
little speck of purple henna, just as Parisian beauties pass 
a line of blue paint under the lower eyelash ; perhaps, too, 
they keep their fingers thus well armed to protect them- 
selves from angry pashas, or even — but let us hope not- — 
to spoil the beauty of some more favoured houri. How- 
ever this may be, the length of the nail is an open ques- 
tion. Let it be often cut, but always long, in my opinion. 
Above all, let it be well cut, and never bitten. Had 
Brummell broken off his engagement because the young 
lady bit her nails, I think I could not have blamed him. 

Perhaps you tell me these are childish details. Details, 
yes, but not childish. The attention to details is the true 
sign of a great mind, and he who can in necessity consider 
the smallest, is the same man who can compass the largest 
subjects. Is not life made up of details 1 Must not the 



CHILBLAINS. 



Ill 



artist who has conceived a picture, descend from the dream 
of his mind to mix colours on a palette 1 Must not the 
great commander who is bowling down nations and setting 
up monarchies care for the health and comfort, the bread 
and beef of each individual soldier 1 I have often seen a 
great poet, whom I knew personally, counting on his fingers 
the feet of his verses, and fretting with anything but 
poetic language, because he could not get his sense into 
so many syllables. What if his nails were dirty 1 Let 
genius talk of abstract beauty, and philosophers dogmatize 
on order. If they do not keep their nails clean, I shall 
call them both charlatans. The man who really loves 
beauty will cultivate it in everything around him. The 
man who upholds order is not conscientious if he cannot 
observe it in his nails. The great mind can afford to 
descend to details ; it is only the weak mind that fears 
to be narrowed by them. When Napoleon was at Munich 
he declined the grand four-poster of the Witelsbach family, 
and slept, as usual, in his little camp-bed. The power to 
be little is a proof of greatness. 

For the hands, ears, and neck we want something more 
than the bath, and as these parts are exposed and really 
lodge fugitive pollutions, we cannot use too much soap, 
or give too much trouble to their complete purification. 
Nothing is lovelier than a woman's small white shell-like 
ear ; few things reconcile us better to earth than the cold 
hand and warm heart of a friend ; but to complete the 
charm, the hand should be both clean and soft. Warm 
water, a liberal use of the nail-brush, and no stint of soap, 
produce this amenity far more effectually than honey, cold 
cream, and almond paste. Of wearing gloves I shall speak 
elsewhere, but for weak people who are troubled with chil- 
blains, they are indispensable all the year round. I will 
add a good prescription for the cure of chilblains, which 
are both a disfigurement, and one of the petites misdres of 
human life. 

" Roll the fingers in linen bandages, sew them up well, 



112 



INSIDE THE DEESSING-EOOM. 



and dip them twice or thrice a day in a mixture, consisting 
of half a fluid ounce of tincture of capsicurn, and a fluid 
ounce of tincture of opium." 

The person who invented razors libelled Nature, and 
added a fresh misery to the days of man, "Ah !" said 
Diogenes, who would never consent to be shaved, " would 
you insinuate that Nature had done better to make you a 
woman than a man ?" As for barbers, they have always 
been gossips and mischief-makers, and Arkwright, who 
invented spinning by rollers, scarcely redeemed his trade 
from universal dishonour. They have been the evil spirits 
of great men toty whom they shaved and bearded in their 
private closets. It was a barber who helped the late King 
of Oude to ruin the country he governed ; and it was a 
barber who, at the beginning of the present century, was 
the bottle-imp of a Bishop of Hereford. Who in fact can 
respect a man whose sole office is to deprive his sex of their 
distinctive feature ? 

It is said that Alexander the Great introduced shaving, 
to prevent his soldiers being caught by the beard by their 
enemies, but the conqueror of Asia must be absolved of 
priority in this iniquitous custom, which he probably found 
prevalent in the countries he invaded. At any rate it would 
appear that the Buddhist priests of India were ashamed of 
their locks at least a century before, and this reminds me 
that shaving and fanaticism have always gone together. 
The custom of the clergy wearing a womanish face is purely 
Eomanist, and I rejoice to see that many a good preacher 
in the present day is not afraid to follow Cranmer and 
other fathers of our Church in wearing a goodly beard. 
The Romish priests were first ordered to shave when tran- 
substantiation was established, from a fear that the beard 
might fall into the cup. It is clear that a Protestant chin 
ought to be well covered. 

Whatever be said of the clergy, the custom of shaving 
came to this country, like many other ugly personal habits, 
with the foreign monarchs. As long as we had Plan- 



THE MOUSTACHE AND BEARD. 



113 



tagenets, Tudors, and Stuarts on the throne, we were men 
as to the outward form. William of Orange was ashamed 
of that very appendage which it is a disgrace to a Mussul- 
man to be without. Peter the Great had already proved 
that barber and barbarian are derived from the same root, 
by laying a tax on all capillary ornaments. 

In England there has always been a great distinction 
between civil and military men, and this is the only country 
in the world where the latter have been held in such dis- 
like, as to compel them to abandon their uniform in every- 
day life. Perhaps it was on this account that civilians in 
general adopted the coutumes of the learned professions, lest 
they should be thought to belong to that of the sword. 
The beard and the rapier went out together at the begin- 
ning of the last century. In the present day many a young 
shop-boy joins "the moustache movement" solely with a 
hope of being mistaken for a " captain." 

Whatever Punch may say, the moustache and beard 
movement is one in the right direction, proving that men 
are beginning to appreciate beauty and to acknowledge that 
Nature is the best valet. But it is very amusing to hear 
men excusing their vanity on the plea of health, and find 
them indulging in the hideous " Newgate frill " as a kind 
of compromise between the beard and the razor. There 
was a time when it was thought a presumption and vanity 
to wear one's own hair instead of the frightful elaborations 
of the wig-makers, and the false curls which Sir Godfrey 
Kneller did his best to make gracefid on canvas. Who 
knows that at some future age some Punch of the 
twenty-first century may not ridicule the wearing of one's 
own teeth instead of the dentist's 1 At any rate Nature 
knows best, and no man need be ashamed of showing his 
manhood in the hair of his face. Of razors and shaving 
therefore I shall only speak from necessity, because, until 
everybody is sensible on this point, they will' still be used. 

Napoleon shaved himself. " A born Mug," said he, 
"has another to shave him. A made king can use his 



114 INSIDE THE DRESSING-ROOM. 

own razor." But the war he made on his chin was very 
different to that he made on foreign potentates. He took 
a very long time to effect it, talking between whiles to his 
hangers-on. The great man, however, was right, and every 
sensible man will shave himself, if only as an exercise of 
character, for a man should learn to live in every detail 
without assistance. Moreover, in most cases we shave our- 
selves better than barbers can do. If we shave at all, we 
should do it thoroughly, and every morning. Nothing, 
except a frown and a hay-fever, makes the face looks so 
unlovely as a chin covered with short stubble. The chief 
requirements are hot water, a large soft brush of badger 
hair, a good razor, soft soap that will not dry rapidly, and 
a steady hand. Cheap razors are a fallacy. They soon 
lose their edge, and no amount of stropping will restore it. 
A good razor needs no strop. If you can afford it, you 
should have a case of seven razors, one for each day of the 
week, so that no one shall be too much used. There are 
now much used packets of papers of a certain kind on 
which to wipe the razor, and which keep its edge keen, 
and are a substitute for the strop. 

I may here remark, that the use of violet-powder after 
shaving, now very common among well-dressed men, is one 
that should be avoided. In the first place, it is almost 
always visible, and gives an unnatural look to the face. I 
know a young lady, who, being afflicted with a redness in 
a feature above the chin, is in the habit of powdering it. 
For a long time I thought her charming, but since I made 
the discovery I can never look at her without a painful 
association with the pepper-caster. Violet -powder also 
makes the skin rough, and enlarges the pores of it sooner 
or later. 

Beards, moustaches, and whiskers, have always been 
most important additions to the face. Italian conspirators 
are known by the cut of those they wear ; and it is not 
long since an Englishman with a beard was set down as an 
artist or a philosopher. In the present day literary men 



WHISKEKS. 



115 



are much given to their growth, and in that respect show 
at once their taste and their vanity. Let no man be 
ashamed of his beard, if it be well kept and not fantas- 
tically cut. The moustache should be kept within limits. 
The Hungarians wear it so long that they can tie the ends 
round their heads. The style of the beard should be 
adopted to suit the face. A broad face should wear a large 
full one ; a long face is improved by a sharp-pointed one. 
Taylor, the water-poet, wrote verses on the various styles, 
and they are almost numberless. The chief point is to 
keep the beard well-combed and in neat trim. 

As to whiskers, it is not every man who can achieve a 
pair of full length. There is certainly a great vanity about 
them, but it may be generally said that foppishness shoidd 
be avoided in this as in most other points. Above all, the 
whiskers should never be curled, nor pulled out to an 
absurd length. Still worse is it to cut them close with the 
scissors. The moustache should be neat and not too large, 
and such fopperies as curHng the points thereof, or twisting 
them up to the fineness of needles — though patronized by 
the Emperor of the French— are decidedly a proof of vanity. 
If a man wear the hair on his face which nature has given 
him, in the manner that nature distributes it, keeps it clean, 
and prevents its overgrowth, he cannot do wrong. If, on 
the other hand, he applies to Marie Coupelle', and other 
advertisers, because he believes that " those dear silky 
whiskers " will find favour in the eyes of the fair, he will, 
if unsuccessful, waste much money — if successful, incur the 
risk of appearing ridiculous. All extravagancies are vulgar, 
because they are evidence of a pretence to being better than 
you are ; but a single extravagance unsupported is perhaps 
worse than a number together, which have at least the 
merit of consistency. If you copy puppies in the half-yard 
of whisker, you should have their dress and their manner 
too, if you would not appear doubly absurd. 

The same remarks apply to the arrangement of the hair 
in men, which should be as simple and as natural as pos- 



116 



INSIDE THE DRESSING-ROOM. 



sible, but at the same time a little may be granted to beauty 
and the requirements of the face. For my part I can see 
nothing unmanly in wearing long hair, though undoubtedly 
it is inconvenient and a temptation to vanity, while its 
arrangement would demand an amount of time and atten- 
tion which is unworthy of a man. But every nation and 
every age has had a different custom in this respect, and to 
this day even in Europe the hair is sometimes worn long. 
The German student is particularly partial to hyacinthine 
locks curling over a black velvet coat ; and the peasant of 
Brittany looks very handsome, if not always clean, with his 
love-locks hanging straight down under a broad cavalier 
hat. Religion has generally taken up the matter severely. 
The old fathers preached and railed against wigs, the Cal- 
vinists raised an insurrection in Bordeaux on the same 
account, and English Roundheads consigned to an unmen- 
tionable place every man who allowed his hair to grow 
according to nature. The Romans condemned tresses as 
unmanly, and in France in the middle ages the privilege to 
wear them was confined to royalty. Our modern custom 
was a revival of the French revolution, so that in this 
respect we are now republican as well as puritanical. 

If we conform to fashion we should at least make the 
best of it, and since the main advantage of short hair is its 
neatness, we should take care to keep ours neat. This 
should be done first by frequent visits to the barber, for if 
the hair is to be short at all it should be very short, and 
nothing looks more untidy than long, stiff, uncurled masses 
sticking out over the ears. If it curls naturally so much 
the better, but if not it will be easier to keep in order. 
The next point is to wash the head every morning, which, 
when once habitual, is a great preservative against cold. 
I never have more than one cold per annum, and I attri- 
bute this to my use of the morning bath, and regular 
washing of my head. A pair of large brushes, hard or soft, 
as your case requires, should be used, not to hammer the 
head with, but*to pass up under the hair so as to reach the 



THE HAIE. 



117 



roots. As to pomatum, Macassar, and other inventions of 
the hairdresser, I have only to say that, if used at all, it 
should be in moderation, and never sufficiently to make 
their scent perceptible in company. Of course the arrange- 
ment will be a matter of individual taste, but as the middle 
of the hair is the natural place for a parting, it is rather a 
silly prejudice to think a man vain who parts his hair in 
the centre. He is less blamable than one who is too lazy 
to part it at all, and has always the appearance of having 
just got up. 

Of wigs and false hair, the subject of satires and sermons 
since the days of the Eoman emperors, I shall say nothing here 
except that they are a practical falsehood which may some- 
times be necessary, but is rarely successful. For my part I 
prefer the snows of life's winter to the best-made peruke, 
and even a bald head to an inferior wig. 

When gentlemen wore armour, and disdained the use of 
their legs, an esquire was a necessity ; and we can under- 
stand that, in the days of the Beaux, the word " gentle- 
man" meant a man and his valet. I am glad to say that 
in the present day it only takes one man to make a gentle- 
man, or, at most, a man and a ninth — that is, including 
the tailor. It is an excellent thing for the character to be 
neat and orderly, and, if a man neglects to be so in his 
room, he is open to the same temptation sooner or later in 
his person. A dressing-case is, therefore, a desideratum. 
A closet to hang up cloth clothes, which should never be 
folded, and a small dressing-room next to the bed-room, are 
not so easily obtainable. But the man who throws his 
clothes about the room, a boot in one corner, a cravat in 
another, and his brushes anywhere, is not a man of good 
habits. The spirit of order should extend to everything 
about him. 



CHAPTER II. 



THE LADY'S TOILET. 

In no particular has the present generation become more 
fastidious than in what is requisite for the use of ladies 
in their own dressing-rooms. Essences, powders, pastes, 
washes for the hair, washes for the skin, recal the days of 
one's grandmothers, when such appurtenances were thought 
essential and were essential : for our great-grandmothers 
were not rigid in points of personal cleanliness ; and it is 
only uncleanliness that requires scents to conceal it, and 
applications to repair its ravages. Our great-grandmothers 
wore powder and pomatum, and had their hair dressed three 
times a week ; going to bed in the cushioned structure, 
after suffering torture for some hours lest they should, in 
the weakness of human infirmity, lean back in their chairs. 
Our great-grandmothers, too, had their white kid gloves 
sewn to the bottom of each sleeve, lest they should incur 
the calamity of a sun-burnt arm. Our great-grandmothers 
were afraid of cold water, and delicately ivi])ed their faces 
with the corner of a towel no larger than a pocket hand- 
kerchief. There were those amongst them who boasted 
that they had never washed their faces in their whole span 
of existence, lest it should spoil their complexions, but had 
only passed a cambric handkerchief over the delicate brow 
and cheeks, wetted with elder-flower water or rose water. 
I believe the nearest approach to the ablution we now 
diurnally practise was the bathing their lovely countenances 
in May-dew, esteemed the finest thing in the morning for 
the skin by our belles of the last century: so they turned 
118 



EARLY RISING. 



119 



out betimes in high-heeled shoes and negliges, trotted down 
the old avenues of many a patriarchal home to the meadow, 
and, saturating their kerchiefs in May-dew, refreshed with 
it the cheeks flushed over-night at quadrille or great cas- 
siuo, and went home contented that a conscientious duty 
had been performed ! 

Nor were they wrong. Some wise fairy of old must have 
inspired the nymph whom she loved with the belief in May 
dew : tradition handed down the counsel from one genera- 
tion to another, the fairy, or gnome, s milin g all the while 
as she saw the lovely procession of the squires' young daugh- 
ters steal out and bend down amid the butter-cups and 
ladies'- smock in the meadow : she smiled, and, as she 
smiled, wafted to them good health, good spirits, and their 
type — bloom. She had induced them by a stratagem — 
Heaven pity her pious fraud .' — to take a preliminary step 
to beauty and its preservation : she had beguiled them into 
early rising. 

For, gentle ladies, you may wash, may bathe your forms 
and faces, curl your locks, and shake out your crinoline • 
use every essence Atkinson has, wherewith to arrest the 
attention of the wistful passers-by ; you may walk by the 
hour, eat by rule, take beauty-sleep before midnight, yet, 
if you are very long after the 

" Sanguine sunrise with his meteor eyes"* 

in coming out and abroad from your chambers, youth will 
not stay with you out his time, but, like an ill-behaved ap- 
prentice, will break his indentures, and vow that he cannot 
abide with you. It is true that rules for habitual early 
rising cannot be laid down for every one, without especial 
reference to other habits ; very early rising, after late 
parties, or great fatigue on the previous day, or extreme 
delicacy of the lungs or throat, might even be pernicious, 
and its use or abuse must be regulated by the physician. 



* Shelley. 



120 



THE LADY'S TOILET. 



In those cases the advice that is now given is for persons 
in an ordinary condition of health. For them, and even 
with some exceptions for invalids, there can be no habit of 
the day or life so important, as far as good looks are con- 
cerned, as early rising. All other animals whose health is 
of importance to man are forced to rise early. The horse, 
on whose good condition his beauty, and therefore his value 
depends, is exercised as early as possible. Our cattle on 
the uplands scent the morning breeze as it brings the odours 
of the woodbine ; the little house-dog pants till he can 
rush forth from the pent-up heated chamber to the fresh 
lawn ; and why is this obvious law of nature of so great 
importance to these objects of preference or of value ? The 
morning air is more strengthening, has a greater proportion 
of oxygen, be it replied, than any other breeze that refreshes 
us by day, or when " the pale purple even" warns us that 
our enjoyment of its delicious sensations are not devoid of 
danger. No one catches cold in the morning air, at least 
with the ordinary prudence of sufficient clothing. Fortified 
by sleep, the change of atmosphere is most salubrious. To 
the careless and happy, what can be more delightful than 
to feel all the freshness of nature soothing every sense, 
whilst yet the great world and its interests and troubles is 
silent and slumbers 1 And it is this fresh breeze, this eman- 
cipation from the pent-up chamber, this reviving influence, 
that combine to form a restorative, such as neither medicine 
nor regimen can offer ; that preserves looks, appetite for 
food, and bloom and. delicacy of complexion. 

An aged clergyman who had known not one day's illness 
was asked his secret : " Dry feet and early rising," was his 
reply ; " these are my only two precautions." 

With regard then to what a French author calls "a 
whole Cyclopaedia of narcotics," young women forget that 
there is no royal road to health and beauty. They must 
take the right path if they wish to reap the reward. No 
person in good health should remain in bed after seven 
o'clock, or half-past seven, in the spring and summer ; that 



MORNING HABITS. 



121 



may, in the present century, when the daughters of England 
are reproached with self-indulgence, be termed early rising. 
She may then be down stairs at eight, and without taking 
a long and fatiguing walk, saunter in the garden a little; 
or, if in a large town, have time to practise, supposing that 
the opportunity of going out into the air is denied. 
By this means, that vigour which is the very soul of come- 
liness, the absence of hurry and the sense of self-reproach 
incurred by late rising, and the hunger felt for breakfast, 
will all conduce to arrest Time, as he hovers over his 
wholesale subjects, and to beguile him into sparing that 
process with his scythe by which he furrows the brow of the 
indolent with wrinkles, whilst he colours the poor victim, 
at the same time, with his own pet preparation of saffron. 

Suppose then that this first and vital standing order for 
the toilet be stringent, and that refreshed, and therefore 
energetic, buoyant, and conscious of one duty being at least 
performed, the lady leaves her bed and prepares to dress. 
L. E. L. used to say, for she was no early riser, that " we 
begin every day with a struggle and a sacrifice." But the 
struggle is soon changed by habit into an eager desire to 
get up ; and the sacrifice, to the habitual early riser, is to be 
in bed. She rises : if in summer, throws open the window 
for a quarter of an hour, whilst the bath is being prepared, 
then closes it again, until the ablutions are completed. The 
nature of these must be guided in a great measure by the 
general health. Of all bracing processes, to a sound con- 
stitution, that of the shower-bath is the greatest. It should 
be used however only with the sanction of the physician. 
The nervous energy is invigorated by it, the digestion, a great 
desideratum for the complexion, is improved ; the balance of 
circulation between the viscera and skin is maintained ; 
and taking cold, that enemy of the graces, rheums, catarrhs, 
and sore throats are kept off • swelling glands are prevented, 
and the whole powers of the frame increase. But, since 
the reaction is not in some delicate constitutions sufficient 
to make the use of the shower-bath desirable, the hip-bath, 
Q 



122 



THE LADY'S TOILET. 



half filled with tepid water at first, and with cold after- 
wards, or the sponging-bath, are admirable modifications of 
the shower-bath. Thus fortified, the lady who has courage 
to conquer a shower-bath, or to plunge into a hip-bath, 
can face the morning air, and go forth with the self-earned 
coat-of-mail, as a defence against all that ugly family of 
catarrhal affections. 

We now come to the toilet-table. This, in a lady's as well 
as in a gentleman's room, should be always neatly set out, and 
every article placed where it can be most conveniently used. 
In former times, vast expense used to be bestowed on china, 
and even on gold and silver toilet-services ; then came the war, 
and the national poverty, and those luxurious appliances were 
let down, if not abandoned. We have now resumed them 
with a degree of expense that is hardly wise or consistent. 
The secrets of the toilet were, indeed, no fancied mysteries in 
former days. Until the first twenty years of this century had 
passed away, many ladies of bon ton thought it necessary, 
in order to complete their dress, to put a touch of rouge on 
either cheek. The celebrated Mrs. Fitzherbert was rouged 
to the very eyes ; those beautiful deep blue eyes of hers. 
The old Duchess of R — enamelled, and usually fled from 
a room when the windows were opened, as the compound, 
whatever formed of, was apt to dissolve and run down the 
face. Queen Caroline (of Brunswick) was rouged fearfully j 
her daughter, noble in form, fair but pale in complexion, 
disdained the art. Whilst the rouged ladies might have sung 
or said, 

" We are blushing roses, 
Bending with our fulness," 

that gifted and lamented princess might have answered, 
" We are lilies fair, 

The flower of virgin light, 
• Nature held us forth, and said, 
Lo 1 'my thoughts of white.' " * 

* Hu&t» 



ROUGE AND COSMETICS. 



123 



And it was certainly remarkable, that after the Princess 
Charlotte's introduction at Court, rouge, which had been 
the rule, became the exception, and that young people gene- 
rally never used it. 

Still there were other means resorted to for attaining the 
whiteness of skin which medical men dread, but which is 
certainly a very striking and beautiful characteristic of an 
English woman. I once knew a lady who was bled from 
time to time to keep the marble-like whiteness of her com- 
plexion ; others, to my knowledge, rub their faces with 
bread-crumbs as one should a drawing. But, worst of all, 
the use of pearl powder, or of violet powder, has been for 
the last half century prevalent. 

Independent of all sorts of art being unpleasant, no mis- 
take of the fair one is greater than this. She may powder, 
she may go forth with a notion that the pearly whiteness 
of her brow, her neck, will be deemed all her own ; but 
there are lights in which the small deception will be visible, 
and the charm of all colouring is gone when it proves to be 
artificial. We tremble to think what is underneath. 

There is another inconvenience attached to the use of 
pearl powder, its great unwholesomeness. It checks the 
natural relief of the skin, perspiration ; and though it may 
not always injure the health, it dries up the cuticle, and 
invites as it were age to settle. Where pearl powder has 
been made an article of habitual use, wrinkles soon require 
additional layers to fill it up, just as worn-out roads have 
ruts, and must be repaired ; but the macadamizing process 
cannot be applied to wrinkles. 

Still more fatal is the use of cosmetics ; its extravagance, 
in the first place, is an evil ; but I treat not of the moral 
question but of its physical effects. Some women spend as 
much on essences and sweet waters as would enable them 
to take a journey, and thus do more for their looks than 
all that a bureau full of cosmetics could insure. Many an 
eruptive disease has arisen from the desire to make the 
skin clear ; above all, avoid specifics. Your friends are in 



124 



THE LADY'S TOILET. 



the habit of saying, such a thing " is good for the com- 
plexion but remember that complexion is the dial of con- 
stitution, and that no two constitutions are alike. What 
is salutary in one case, may produce serious mischief in an- 
other. 

For instance, when abroad, a lady who had been very 
much sun-burnt was told that cucumbers cut into slices and 
put into cream, produce a decoction that would take off 
the burning effects of the sun. It is, in fact, a remedy 
used by German ladies, who must however have skins dif- 
ferently constituted than ours to bear it. The lady used 
this very powerful specific, and her face was blistered. No- 
thing, indeed, but time and cold weather will take away 
the effects of the sun : butter-milk, from its gentle acid, has 
some efficacy on certain skins, but it is a disagreeable 
remedy. 

The softest possible water ought, however, to be resorted 
to in washing the face ; and rain-water, filtered, is incom- 
parably the best. Great care should be taken not to check 
perspiration by washing when heated ; these are precau- 
tions consistent with nature, and therefore valuable. The 
water should be dashed freely over the face several times, 
and the process be pursued in the middle of the day, as 
well as in the morning and at dinner-time ; it is true the 
face may, without that, be clean all day, but it will not be 
fresh. The Turkish towels now used so much are excellent 
for wiping, as they do that important operation not only 
thoroughly, but without irritating the skin ; the body, on 
the other hand, should be dried with a coarse huckaback, 
an article unknown in France, but excellent for promoting 
quick circulation in the frame after bathing. To complete, 
then, the toilet so far as the person is concerned ; with 
few or no cosmetics, with nothing but the use of soap (the 
old brown Windsor being still, in spite of all modern in- 
ventions, far the best for the skin), to have the water 
brought in fresh in the morning, as that in the room is 
seldom, except in winter, really cool, these are the simple 



THE TRUE COSMETICS. 



125 



preservatives of the skin, which it is very easy to injure and 
irritate, and very difficult to restore to a healthy condition. 
It must, however, be remembered that a healthy condition 
of the skin depends far less on external than on internal 
causes ; and that good health, maintained by early rising, 
and a simple, nutritive diet, is the great originator of a 
clear and blooming complexion. In cases of eruption, 
however, do nothing without good advice. Many an 
eruption which poisons the comfort even of the strongest- 
minded woman, has been fixed beyond cure by dabblings 
of Eau-de-Cologne on the face — thus exciting instead of 
allaying the fiery enemy — milk of roses, essences, and cos- 
metics, whose name is Legion. Such is the effect of de- 
speration on the female mind, that it has been even tried 
whether raw veal cutlets being put on the face would not 
soften and improve the skin ; an act of folly which can only 
be characterized as disgusting. 

Banish, therefore, if free from any cutaneous disease, 
every essence, cosmetic, or sweet-water from your toilet ; 
and remember that to keep the skin smooth and clean, 
all rubbing and touching should be avoided ; fresh air, 
when the heat of the sun is not intense, and pure water, 
are the best and only cosmetics that can be used without 
prejudice. 

There are many alleviations to eruptive complaints : 
among the best is a solution of sulphur ; but even this 
should never be resorted to without advice, and in the proper 
proportions. In many cases, however, it almost immediately 
removes an eruption, by cooling the skin ; hence it will be 
seen how very injurious are all essences with spirit in 
them, which have a tendency to heat and inflammation. 

"Do you want luxuriant hair ?" is a question we see 
daily in the papers, answered, of course, by a specific. If 
possible, the skin of the head requires even more tenderness 
and cleanliness than any other portion of the body, and is 
very soon capable of being irritated into disease. In respect 
of this, as of the complexion, people err generally, from 



126 



THE LADY'S TOILET. 



doing too much. In the first place, the most perfect 
cleanliness must be enjoined ; formerly the use of a fine- 
tooth comb was considered essential, and abroad it is still 
resorted to, and is in some cases salutary. But, in general, 
to the careful brasher the comb is not essential. I say 
the careful brusher, for great harm is often done to the 
hairs by rude, sharp, irregular brushing. The hairs should 
be separated with a comb, so that the head and not the 
hairs be brushed. The brush should not be too hard ; it 
may slightly redden the skin, but no more ; the use of 
pomatum should be sparing, and confined to that of which 
the ingredients are known — marrow and bear's grease are 
the best, and the former is most easily obtained genuine. 
All scents are more or less injurious to the hair, and they 
should be used in the slightest possible proportion. To 
wash the roots of the hair from time to time with weak 
vinegar and water, or with a solution of ammonia, cleanses 
it effectually, whilst a yolk of an egg beaten up and mixed 
with warm water, is excellent for the skin and hair ; but 
it is troublesome to wash out, and must be done by a 
careful maid. There is no risk, but great benefit, in washing 
even the "luxuriant hair " of a person in health, if done 
in warm weather, and well dried, or by a fire ; and a small 
quantity of ammonia insures from catching cold. It is 
quite a mistake to suppose that washing the hair makes 
it coarse ; it renders it glossy and flexible ; the washing . 
cools the head, the heat of which is the great source of 
baldness and grey hairs ; it prevents all that smell from 
very thick hair which is detected in persons who trust to 
the brush only ; lastly, it is one of the most refreshing 
personal operations, next to the bath, that can be devised. 

A lady's hair should, in ordinary life, be dressed twice 
a day, even if she does not vary the mode. To keep it 
cool and glossy, it requires being completely taken down in 
the middle of the day, or in the evening, according to the 
dinner-hours. The taste in dressing it in the morning 
should be simple, without pins, bows, or any foreign 



THE HAIR. 



127 



auxiliary to the best ornament of nature. I do not mean 
to deprecate the use of the pads, as they are called, or 
supports under the hair used at this time, because they 
supersede the necessity of frizzing, which is always a pro- 
cess most injurious to the hair ; but I own I object much 
to the ends of black lace, bows of ribbon, &c, used by 
many young women in their morning coiffure ; of course, 
for those past girlhood, and not old enough to wear caps, 
the case is different. 



CHAPTER III. 



DRESS. 

" A story," says an eminent writer, " is never too old 
to tell, if it be made to sound new." If this be true, I may- 
be excused for narrating the following veritable history : — 
In an Indian jungle there once resided a tawny jackal, a 
member, as all those animals are, of a jackal club which 
met at night in the said jungle. It was the custom for 
the different subscribers to separate early in the evening on 
predatory excursions, and on one occasion the individual in 
question having dined very sparingly that day on a leg of 
horse, ventured, in hopes of a supper, within the precincts 
of a neighbouring town. It happened that while employed 
in the prowling distinctive of his kind, he fell into a 
sunken vat filled with indigo, and when he had contrived 
to struggle out again, discovered, by the light of the 
moon, that his coat had assumed a brilliant blue tinge. 
In vain he rolled himself on the grass, in vain rubbed his 
sides against the bushes of the jungle to which he speedily 
returned. The blue stuck to him, and so, with the acute- 
ness for which jackals are renowned, he determined to 

" stick to " it Shame indeed would have overcome him, 

ridicule Jiave oMv^o^mn to despair, when he rejoined his 
club, but for this resolution. That very morning he 
appeared among his kind, whisking his tail with glee, and 
holding his head erect. A titter, of course, welcomed him, 
and, before long, you would have thought that every 
jackal present had been turned into a laughing hyaena. 
128 



FASHION AND ITS LEADERS. 



129 



Our hero was nothing abashed. " Gentlemen," said he, 
in the dialect of Hindustani peculiar to his kind, " I have 
been to town, and bring you the last new fashion." The 
laughter changed to respectful admiration. One by one 
the members of the club stole up to him and inquired 
where he had met with the colouring, just as George iv. 
asked Brummell what tailor had made that coat. The 
address was imparted, and if on the following evening not 
all of the prowling beasts appeared in a blue coat, it was 
only because three of them had been drowned in the 
attempt to procure it. 

The fable, which is a real Sanskrit one, will at once 
remind us of one concerning that sharp-nosed quadruped 
which farmers denounce, and squires combine to run to 
death. But it has a moral as well as a satirical bearing, 
and we believe that this moral has not been done justice to. 
Fashion is called a despot ; but if men, like the jackals and 
foxes, are willing, nay, eager to be its slaves, we cannot, 
and ought not, to upbraid fashion. Its crowning is, in 
short, nothing more than the confession that vanity makes 
of its own weakness. We must be vain ; we are weak ; 
all we ask is to be guided in our vanity. 

The worst of it is, that the man who rebels against 
fashion, is even more open to the imputation of vanity 
than he who obeys it, because he makes himself conspicu- 
ous, and practically announces that he is wiser than his 
kind. There cannot be greater vulgarity than an affecta- 
tion of superior simplicity. Between the two it is left to 
the man of sense and modesty only to follow fashion so far 
as not to make himself peculiar by opposing it. 

Dress and sin came in together, and have kept good 
fellowship ever since. If we could doubt, as some have 
done, the authenticity of the Pentateuch, we should have 
to admit that its author was at least the shrewdest observer 
of mankind, inasmuch as he makes a love of dress the first 
consequence of the Fall. That it really was so, we can be 
certain from the fact that it has always accompanied an 

R 



130 



DRESS. 



absence of goodness. The best dressers of every age have 
always been the worst men and women. We do not pre- 
tend that the converse is true, and that the best people 
have always dressed the worst. Plato was at once a beau 
and a philosopher, and Descartes was the former before he 
aspired to be the latter. But the love of dress, take it as 
you will, can only arise from one of two closely allied sins, 
vanity and pride ; and when in excess, as in the miserable 
beaux of different ages, it becomes as ridiculous in a man 
as the glee of a South Sea islander over a handful of worth- 
less glass beads. No life can be more contemptible than 
one of which the Helicon is a tailor's shop, and its paradise 
the Park; no man more truly wretched than he whose 
mind is only a mirror of his body, and whose soul can fly 
no higher than a hat or a neck-tie ; who strangles ambition 
with a yard-measure, and suffocates glory in a boot. But 
this puny peacockism always brings its own punishment. 
The fop ruins himself by his vanity, and ends a sloven, like 
Goodman, first a well-dressed student of Cambridge, then 
an actor, then a liighwayman, who was at last reduced to 
share a shirt with a fellow-fool, and had to keep his room 
on the days when the other wore it. 

But we must not suppose that this vanity lies in the 
following more than in the outraging of fashion ; and if 
there were no such thing as a universal rule of dress, we 
may be confident that there would be just as much, if not 
more foppery, where each could dress as he liked. When 
it could not glory in the roll of a coat-collar or the turn of 
a hat-brim, it would show itself in richness of stuffs and 
splendour of ornaments ; and while fashion has to be blamed 
for many extravagances, the gold chains of one age, the 
huge wigs of another, and the crinoline of a third; we must- 
rejoice that it holds so severe a sway over men's minds, 
when we find that at another period it decrees simplicity, 
and legislates to put down superfluous ornament. The 
wise man, therefore, who frets at its follies, will attempt 
not to subvert, but rather to reform it } not to tear from his 



NEW AND OLD FASHIONS. 



131 



throne a monarch elected by universal suffrage, who will 
instantly be reinstated, but to lead him by his own exam- 
ple, and, if possible, by his voice, to make simple and 
sensible enactments. Better a wise despot than a silly 
republic. 

When kings were the roinisters of fashion, dress was 
generally costly and showy; when philosophers were its 
counsellors, it became slovenly and untidy ; and when, as 
in the present day, it is led by private gentlemen and 
private ladies, it is often absurd and in bad taste, but 
generally tends towards simplicity. It is certainly amusing, 
when looking back at the history of dress, to see how often 
the story of the blue jackal may be cited. Wigs were 
inflicted on our forefathers by a bald monarch, and we 
were tortured by stiff cravats and high shirt-collars, because 
another had the king's evil in his neck. Long skirts pro- 
bably came in to hide a pair of ungainly feet, and hoops 
were introduced to make a queenly waist look smaller than 
it was. 

There is, however, a difference between the prerogative 
of fashion and that of other despots. While we are bound 
to yield a general obedience to his laws, we have the right, 
without a loss of caste, to disregard any which are mani- 
festly absurd and inconvenient. If, for example, a fashion- 
able of the present day, to whom nature had given an ugly 
foot, were to follow the example of Fulk, Duke of Anjou, 
and introduce such long peaks to our boots that we could 
not walk in them, we may be certain that their use would 
not survive a season, and would be confined to a class who 
have little to do but look ornamental. It is certainly a 
consolation to find that in the present day the fashions of 
male attire are restricted, not as they once were, by royal 
edicts, but by the common sense of men who know that 
dress ought to be convenient as well as elegant. With 
ladies it is otherwise. Woman is still too generally believed 
to have no higher mission than that of pleasing the senses 
rather than the judgment of men, and so many women of 



132 



DRESS. 



all classes are idle, that a fashion, however preposterous, is 
more readily accepted and more universally adopted by 
them than by the stronger sex. And this is the case even 
when the reform proposed is obviously most advantageous. 
How difficult, for instance, has it been to abolish the stiff 
black hat and the throat-cutting collar, though the wide- 
awake and the turned-down collar were at once more 
graceful and more comfortable. How completely has the 
attempt to establish the " peg-top" been a failure, though 
every man of sense who values his health must feel that a 
loose covering is both more comfortable and more healthy 
than a tight sheathing of cloth. The fact is, that there is 
a conservatism in fashion which has the appearance of being 
respectable, but is really slavish and silly ; and the weekly 
satirists who undertake to laugh down its extravagances 
have not always the sense to appreciate its wisdom. Those 
in fact who are most eager in the blind attack on fashion, 
are often really its most abject and least sensible servants. 
To condemn a new fashion only because it is new, is con- 
temptibly short-sighted ; and the wise old gentlemen who 
sneer at " new-fangled fancies" should first ascertain 
whether the innovation is for the better or the worse. 

But, after all, the changes of fashion are not sufficiently 
rapid or violent in respect of men's dress, to make even our 
grandfathers uncomfortable on account of their peculiarity. 
If the hat-brim and coat-collar have lost what was once 
considered a graceful curl, if huge shirt-collars and stiff 
cravats have given way to a freer arrangement for the 
neck, if blue swallow-tailed coats and brass buttons have 
been succeeded by blue frocks without them, and buff 
waistcoats with painfully tight appendices, by white waist- 
coats and the liberty of the leg, the^ change is not great 
enough to require a new race of tailors, or make old men 
ridiculous even in our streets. But while an old man in 
an old fashion not only passes muster, but seems to acquire 
additional respectability from the antiquity of his style, a 
young man can scarcely adopt his grandfather's wardrobe 



APPROPKIATENESS. 



133 



without risking a smile. I remember once taking a friend 
of mine — a country squire of one-and-twenty — to dine with 
some extremely fashionable but not very well-bred bache- 
lors. The appearance of my companion was decidedly 
antique ; for, conservative to the back and its covering, he 
prided himself on maintaining the style of his worthy pro- 
genitor. I saw that the eye-glasses were turned on him 
with a look of mingled pity and contempt, and in the 
course of dinner heard the following remarks pass between 
the host and a guest : — 

" Pray, G- — ," asked a lisping bewhiskered exquisite 
of the former, " who is your fine old English gentleman 1 
What style do you call it 1 Bather George the Fourth 
—eh !" 

" Yes, rather," replied the host ; " but," he added in 
a whisper, " he has just come in to £12,000 a year and 
B — Hall." 

" Oh ! — aw, indeed ! Then of course he can afford to 
be eccentric." 

This brings me to speak of certain necessities of dress : 
the first of which I shall take is appropriateness. The 
age of the individual is an important consideration in this 
respect ; and a man of sixty is as absurd in the style of 
nineteen as my young friend in the high cravat of Brum- 
mell's day. I know a gallant colonel who is master of the 
ceremonies in a gay watering-place, and who, afraid of 
the prim old-fashioned tournure of his confreres in similar 
localities, is to be seen, though his hair is grey and his age 
not under five-and-sixty, in a light cut-away, the " peg-top" 
continuations, and a turned- down collar. It may be what 
younger blades will wear when they reach his age, but in 
the present day the effect is ridiculous. We may, there- 
fore, give as a general rule, that after the turning-point of 
life a man should eschew the changes of fashion in his own 
attire, while he avoids complaining of it in the young. In 
the latter, on the other hand, the observance of these 
changes must depend partly on his taste and partly on his 



134 



DRESS* 



position. If wise, he will adopt with alacrity any new 
fashions which improve the grace, the ease, the healthful- 
ness, and the convenience of his garments. He will be glad 
of greater freedom in the cut of his cloth clothes, of boots 
with elastic sides instead of troublesome buttons or laces, 
of the privilege to turn down his collar, and so forth, while 
he will avoid as extravagant, elaborate shirt-fronts, gold 
bindings on the waistcoat, and expensive buttons. On the 
other hand, whatever his age, he will have some respect to 
his profession and position in society. He will remember 
how much the appearance of the man aids a judgment of 
his character, and this test, which has often been cried down, 
is in reality no bad one ; for a man who does not dress 
appropriately evinces a want of what is most necessary to 
professional men — tact and discretion. I could not, for 
instance, feel confidence in a young physician dressed as I 
am accustomed to see a guardsman ; while, if my lawyer 
were a dandy in his office, I should be inclined to think he 
knew more of gay society than of Coke upon Lyttleton. 
The dress of the clergy is not an arbitrary matter, yet I 
have seen ecclesiastics who, abandoning the white choker, 
lounge in an easy costume, little different from that of their 
undergraduate days, and, though it is "certainly hard to con- 
demn a man for life to the miseries of black cloth, we have 
a right to expect that he should be proud rather than 
ashamed of the badge of his high calling. 

Position in society demands a like appropriateness. Well 
knowing the worldly value of a good coat, I would yet never 
recommend a man of limited means to aspire to a fashion- 
able appearance. In the first place, he becomes thereby a 
walking falsehood ; in the second, he cannot, without 
running into debt, which is another term for dishonesty, 
maintain the style he has adopted. As he cannot afford to 
change his suits as rapidly as fashion alters, he must avoid 
following it in varying details. He will rush into wide 
sleeves one month, in the hope of being fashionable, and 
before his coat is worn out, the next month will bring in a 



TOWN AND COUNTRY. 



135 



narrow sleeve. We cannot, unfortunately, like Samuel 
Pepys, take a long cloak now-a-days to the tailor's, to be 
cut into a short one, " long cloaks being now quite out," 
as he tells us. Even when there is no poverty in the case, 
our position must not be forgotten. The tradesman will 
win neither customers nor friends by adorning himself in 
the mode of the club-lounger, and the clerk, or commercial 
traveller, who dresses fashionably, lays himself open to 
inquiries as to his antecedents, which he may not care to 
have investigated. In general, it may be said that there 
is vulgarity in dressing like those of a class above us, since 
it must be taken as a proof of pretension. 

I remember going to church in a remote little village 
on the borders of Wales, and being surprised to see enter, 
among the clodhoppers and simple folk of the place, a couple 
of young men dressed in the height of fashion, and wearing 
yellow kid-gloves and patent-leather boots. On inquiry I 
found them to be the sons of a rich manufacturer, who had 
himself been once a working man, and was residing in the 
neighbourhood. I was not surprised, for vulgar pretension 
was here carried out to the worst extreme. Better-bred 
men would have known that, whatever their London cos- 
tume, a difference must be made in the country. The rule 
may be laid down that wherever we are we should assimi- 
late, as far as convenient, to the customs and costumes of 
the place. While I had no wish to see the sons of the 
parvenu appear in smock-frocks and high-lows, I was reason- 
able in thinking that a rougher style of dress would have 
been better, and this may be said for the country generally. 
As it is bad taste to flaunt the airs of the town among 
provincials, who know nothing of them, it is worse taste to 
display the dress of a city in the quiet haunts of the rustics. 
The law which we have enunciated, that all attempts at 
distinction by means of .dress is vulgar and pretentious, 
would be sufficient argument against wearing London 
fashions in the country ; but if this is not sufficient, we may 
picture the inconvenience of such a measure under certain 



136 



circumstances. Had a shower of rain descended at the 
conclusion of the service, our two young sprigs of gentility 
would have looked superbly ridiculous in their thin boots 
and light gloves, and no London hansom to take refuge in, 
to say nothing of spoiling one's boots and catching cold. 

While in most cases a rougher and easier mode of dress is 
both admissible and desirable in the country, there are many 
occasions of country visiting where a town man finds it 
difficult to decide. It is almost peculiar to the country to 
unite the amusements of the daytime with those of the even- 
ing ; of the open air with those of the drawing-room. Thus, 
in the summer, when the days are long, you will be asked 
to a pic-nic or an archery party, which will wind up with 
dancing in-doors, and may even assume the character of a 
ball. If you are aware of this beforehand, it will always 
be safe to send your evening dress to your host's house, and 
you will learn from the servants whether others have done 
the same, and whether, therefore, you will not be singular 
in asking leave to change your costume. But if you are 
ignorant how the day is to end, you must be guided partly 
by the hour of invitation, and partly by the extent of your 
intimacy with the family. I have actually known gentle- 
men arrive at a large pic-nic at mid-day in complete evening 
dress, and pitied them with all my heart, compelled as they 
were to suffer, in tight black clothes, under a hot sun for eight 
hours, and dance after all in the same dress. On the other 
hand, if you are asked to come an hour or two before sunset, 
after six in summer, in the autumn after five, you cannot 
err by appearing in evening dress. It is always taken as 
a compliment to do so, and if your acquaintance with your 
hostess is slight, it would be almost a familiarity to do 
otherwise. In any case you desire to avoid singularity, 
so that if you can discover what others who are invited 
intend to wear, you can always decide on your own attire. 
On the Continent there is a convenient rule for these 
matters : never appear after four in the afternoon in morn- 
ing dress ; but then grey trousers are there allowed instead 



TRAVELLING. 



137 



of black, and white waistcoats are still worn in the evening. 
At any rate, it is possible to effect a compromise between 
the two styles of costume, and if you are likely to be called 
upon to dance in the evening, it will be well to wear thin 
boots, a black frock-coat, and a small black neck-tie, and 
to put a clean pair of white gloves into your pocket. You 
will thus be at least less conspicuous in the dancing-room 
than in a light tweed suit. 

Englishmen are undeniably the most conservative men 
in the world, and in nothing do they show it more univer- 
sally than in maintaining their usual habits in any country, 
climate, or season. I? Anglais en voyage has been a fruit- 
ful subject of ridicule both to our own and foreign writers, 
and I shall therefore content myself with saying that, while 
I would not have an Englishman adopt every local habit or 
every fantastic costume of those among whom he finds him- 
self, I would fain see him avoid that distinctiveness in 
both which is set down by our neighbours to pride and ob- 
stinacy. Excellent, for instance, is the custom of shaking 
hands, but it has on the Continent generally a much 
more friendly and particular signification, and is per- 
mitted between the sexes only after a long intimacy. In 
fact, a French jeune fille never takes a gentleman's hand 
unless he is quite an ami de la maison, so that for an Eng- 
lishman at a first visit to shake hands all round amounts to 
a familiarity. I shall never forget the deep crimson on 
the cheeks of a charming girl to whom I once introduced 
an English friend, and who was too well-bred not to touch 
his proffered hand, but did so with an air of unmistakable 
surprise. " Qu'est-ce que c'est que votre ami," she asked 
me afterwards ; " est-ce qu'il veut done m'embrasser V To 
impose the manners of one country on the people of an- 
other, is as bad as to revive those of a past century. 

In the middle of last century it was the custom for a 
gentleman on entering a room, to kiss the ladies all round 
on the cheek. Had not my French friend as much right 
to blush, as any English young lady would if I were to 



138 



DEESS. 



subject her to the practice of the charming but obsolete 
custom? 

Can anything be more painfully ridiculous than an Eng- 
lishman wearing a black silk hat and frock-coat of cloth 
under the sun of the equator ? Yet such is our want of 
sense, or our love of national costumes, however hideous, 
that it is the etiquette in our colonies, whether in the 
tropics or the arctic regions, to wear precisely the same stiff 
hot court dress as at St. James'. However this might be 
excused on the plea of uniformity in official dress, it is no 
excuse for the fashion which imposes the coat, &c. of Pall 
Mall on the gentleman of Calcutta or Colombo ; and the 
same may be said of our own fashion of wearing cloth 
clothes throughout the year. There is many a summer's 
day in England as hot as any in Italy, and in general the 
difference between our summer and that of France and 
America is, that there the heat is glaring and clear, with 
us, if less powerful, close and oppressive. Why then should 
my Lord Fashion permit the Frenchman and Yankee to 
wear whole suits of white linen, and condemn us to black 
cloth 1 Nothing can be neater or prettier, as modern dress 
goes, than the white coat, waistcoat, et cetera, with a straw 
hat and a bright blue tie ; but it is something to say against 
it, that London smoke would necessitate a clean suit per 
diem, which would materially augment the washing expen- 
diture of our metropolitan Beaux Tibbses. The nearest 
approach we are allowed to make to a sensible costume, on 
days when we should like to follow Sidney Smith's advice, 
by the removal of our flesh and sitting in our skeletons, is 
that of light thin tweeds, but even these are not counte- 
nanced in St. James' and the Park, and we must be content 
to take refuge in a white waistcoat and the thinnest possible 
material for our frock-coat. On the other hand, as our 
winters are never very severe, we have only to choose thicker 
tweeds of a darker colour for that season, and the wrapper 
or great-coat then becomes not nearly so important an 
article as the indispensable umbrella. In this country, 



APPKOPPJATENESS TO OCCASIONS. 139 

therefore, as present fashions require, appropriateness to 
the season will be easily acquired by a change of material 
and colour rather than of form, in our apparel. 

Not so the distinction to be made according to size. As 
a rule, tall men require long clothes — some few perhaps 
even in the nurse's sense of those words — : and short men 
short clothes. On the other hand, Falstaff should beware 
of Jenny Wren coats and affect ample wrappers, while Peter 
Schlemihl, and the whole race of thin men, must eschew 
looseness as much in their garments as their morals. 

Lastly, we come to what is appropriate to different occa- 
sions, and as this is an important subject, I shall treat of 
it separately. For the present it is sufficient to point out 
that while every man should avoid not only extravagance, 
but even brilliance of dress on ordinary occasions, there are 
some on which he may and ought to pay more attention to 
his toilet, and attempt to look gay. Of course, the evenings 
are not here meant. For evening dress there is a fixed rule, 
from which we can depart only to be foppish or vulgar ; but 
in morning dress there is greater liberty, and when we un- 
dertake to mingle with those who are assembled avowedly 
for gaiety, we should not make ourselves remarkable by the 
dinginess of our dress. Such occasions are open-air enter- 
tainments, fetes, flower-shows, archery-meetings, matinees, 
and id genus omne, where much of the pleasure to be de- 
rived depends on the general effect on the enjoy ers, and 
where, if we cannot pump up a look of mirth, we should at 
least, if we go at all, wear the semblance of it in our dress. 
I have a worthy little friend, who, I believe, is as well-dis- 
posed to his kind as Lord Shaftesbury himself, but who, 
for some reason, perhaps a twinge of philosophy about him, 
frequents the gay meetings to which he is asked in an old 
coat and a wide-awake. Some people take him for a wit, 
but he soon shows that he does not aspire to that character ; 
others for a philosopher, but he is too good-mannered for 
that ; others, poor man ! pronounce him a cynic, and all 
are agreed that whatever he may be, he looks out of place 



140 



DRESS. 



and spoils the general effect. I believe in my heart that 
he is the mildest of men, but will not take the trouble to 
dress more than once a day. At any rate, he has a charac- 
ter for eccentricity, which, I am sure, is precisely what he 
would wish to avoid. That character is a most delightful 
one for a bachelor, and it is generally Coelebs who holds it, 
for it has been proved by statistics that there are four single 
to one married man among the inhabitants of our mad-houses ; 
but eccentricity yields a reputation which requires something 
to uphold it, and even in Diogenes of the Tub it was ex- 
tremely bad taste to force himself into Plato's evening party 
without sandals, and nothing but a dirty tunic on him. 

Another requisite in dress is its simplicity, with which I 
may couple harmony of colour. This simplicity is the only 
distinction which a man of taste should aspire to in the 
matter of dress, but a simplicity in appearance must proceed 
from a nicety in reality. One should not be simply ill- 
dressed, but simply well-dressed. Lord Castlereagh would 
never have been pronounced the most distinguished man in 
the gay court of Vienna, because he wore no orders or rib- 
bons among hundreds decorated with a profusion of those 
vanities, but because besides this he was dressed with taste. 
The charm of Brummell's dress was its simplicity ; yet it 
cost him as much thought, time, and care, as the portfolio 
of a minister. The rules of simplicity, therefore, are the 
rules of taste. All extravagance, all splendour, and all 
profusion, must be avoided. The colours, in the first place, 
must harmonize both with our complexion and with one 
another ; perhaps most of all with the colour of our hair. 
All bright colours should be avoided, such as red, yellow, 
sky-blue, and bright green. Perhaps only a successful 
Australian gold-digger would think of choosing such colours 
for his coat, waistcoat, or trousers ; but there are hundreds 
of young men who might select them for their gloves and 
neck-ties. The deeper colours are, somehow or other, more 
manly, and are certainly less striking. The same simplicity 
should be studied in the avoidance of ornamentation. A 



JEWELLERY. 



141 



few years ago it was the fashion to trim the evening waist- 
coat with a border of gold lace. This is an example of 
fashions always to be rebelled against. Then, too, extrava- 
gance in the form of our dress is a sin against taste. I 
remember that long ribbons took the place of neck-ties some 
years ago. At an Oxford commemoration, two friends of 
mine determined to cut a figure in this matter, having little 
else to distinguish them. The one wore two yards of 
bright pink ; the other the same quantity of bright blue 
ribbon round their necks. I have reason to believe they 
think now that they both looked superbly ridiculous. In 
the same way, if the trousers are worn wide, we should not 
wear them as loose as a Turk's ; or if the sleeves are to be 
open, we should not rival the ladies in this matter. And 
so on through a hundred details, generally remembering 
that to exaggerate a fashion is to assume a character, and 
therefore vulgar. The wearing of jewellery comes under this 
head. Jewels are an ornament to women, but a blemish 
to men. They bespeak either effeminacy or a love of dis- 
play. The hand of a man is honoured in working, for 
labour is his mission • and the hand that wears its riches on 
its fingers, has rarely worked honestly to win them. The best 
jewel a man can wear is his honour. Let that be bright and 
shining, well set in prudence, and all others must darken 
before it. But as we are savages, and must have some silly 
trickery to hang about us, a little, but very little concession 
may be made to our taste in this respect. I am quite 
serious when I disadvise you from the use of nose-rings, 
gold anklets, and hat-bands studded with jewels ; for when 
I see an incredulous young man of the nineteenth century, 
dangling from his watch-chain a dozen silly " charms" 
(often the only ones he possesses), which have no other use 
than to give a fair coquette a legitimate subject on which to 
approach to closer intimacy, and which are revived from 
the lowest superstitions of dark ages, and sometimes darker 
races, I am quite justified in believing that some South 
African chieftain, sufficiently rich to cut a dash in London, 



142 



DEESS. 



might introduce with success the most peculiar fashions of 
his own country. However this may be, there are already 
sufficient extravagances prevalent among our young men to 

attack 

The man of good taste will wear as little jewellery as 
possible. One handsome signet-ring on the little finger of 
the left hand, a scarf-pin which is neither large nor showy 
nor too intricate in its design, and a light, rather thin 
watch-guard with a cross-bar, are all that he ought to wear. 
But if he aspires to more than this, he should observe the 
following rules : — 

1. Let everything be real and good. False jewellery is 
not only a practical lie, but an absolute vulgarity, since its 
use arises from an attempt to appear richer or grander than 
its wearer is. 

2. Let it be simple. Elaborate studs, waistcoat-buttons, 
and wrist-links, are all abominable. The last particularly 
should be as plain as possible, consisting of plain gold ovals, 
with at most the crest engraved upon them. Diamonds 
and brilliants are quite unsuitable to men, whose jewellery 
should never be conspicuous. If you happen to possess a 
single diamond of great value you may wear it on great 
occasions as a ring, but no more than one ring should ever 
be worn by a gentleman. 

3. Let it be distinguished rather by its curiosity than 
its brilliance. An antique or bit of old jewellery possesses 
more interest, particularly if you are able to tell its history, 
than the most splendid production of the goldsmith's shop. 

4. Let it harmonize with the colours of your dress. 

5. Let it have some use. Men should never, like 
women, wear jewels for mere ornament, whatever may be 
the fashion of Hungarian noblemen, and deposed Indian 
rajahs with jackets covered with rubies. 

The precious stones are reserved for ladies, and even our 
scarf-pins are more suitable without them. English taste 
has also the superiority over that of the Continent in con- 
demning the wearing of orders, clasps, and ribbons, except 



NEATNESS. 



143 



at court or on official occasions. If these are really given 
for merit, they will add nothing to our fame ; if, as in nine 
cases out of ten, they are bestowed merely because the 
recipient has done his duty, they may impose on fools, but 
will, if anything, provoke only awkward inquiries from 
sensible men. If it be permitted to flaunt our bravery or 
our learning on the coat-collar, as much as to cry, like little 
Jack Horner, " See what a good boy ami!" I cannot, 
for my part, discover why a curate should not carry his 
silver teapot about with him, or Mr. Morison enlarge his 
phylacteries with a selection from the one million cases of 
" almost miraculous cures." 

The dress that is both appropriate and simple can never 
offend, nor render its wearer conspicuous, though it may 
distinguish him for his good taste. But it will not be 
pleasing unless clean and fresh. We cannot quarrel with 
a poor gentleman's thread-bare coat, if his linen be pure, 
and we see that he has never attempted to dress beyond 
his means or unsuitably to his station. But the sight of 
decayed gentility and dilapidated fashion may call forth our 
pity, and at the same time prompt a moral : " You have 
evidently sunken," we say to ourselves ; " but whose fault 
was it ? Am I not led to suppose that the extravagance 
which you evidently once revelled in has brought you to 
what I now see you?" While freshness is essential to 
being well-dressed, it will be a consolation to those who 
cannot afford a heavy tailor's bill, to reflect that a visible 
newness in one's clothes is as bad as patches and darns, and 
to remember that there have been celebrated dressers who 
would never put on a new coat till it had been worn two 
or three times by their valets. On the other hand, there 
is no excuse — except at Donnybrook — for untidiness, holes 
in the boots, a broken hat, torn gloves, and so on. Indeed, 
it is better to wear no gloves at all than a pair full of 
holes. There is nothing to be ashamed of in bare hands if 
they are clean, and the poor can still afford to have their 
shirts and shoes mended, and their hats ironed. It is 



144 



DEESS. 



certainly better to show signs of neatness than the reverse, 
and you need sooner be ashamed of a hole than a darn. 

Of personal cleanliness I have spoken at such length that 
little need be said on that of the clothes. If you are 
economical with your tailor, you can be extravagant with 
your laundress. The beaux of forty years back put on three 
shirts a day, but except in hot weather one is sufficient. 
Of course, if you charjge your dress in the evening you must 
change your shirt too. There has been a great outcry 
against coloured flannel shirts in the place of linen, and the 
man who can wear one for three days is looked on as little 
better than St. Simeon Stylites. I should like to know 
how often the advocates of linen change their own under- 
flannel, and whether the same rule does not apply to what 
is seen as to what is concealed. But while the flannel is 
perhaps healthier as absorbing the moisture more rapidly, 
the linen has the advantage of looking cleaner, and may 
therefore be preferred. As to economy, if the flannel costs 
less to wash, it also wears out sooner; but, be this as it may, 
a man's wardrobe is not complete without half a dozen or 
so of these shirts, which he will find most useful, and ten 
times more comfortable than linen in long excursions, or 
when exertion will be required. Flannel, too, has the 
advantage of being warm in winter and cool in summer, 
for, being a non-conductor, but a retainer of heat, it pro- 
tects the body from the sun, and, on the other hand, shields 
it from the cold. But the best shirt of all, particularly in 
winter, is that which wily monks and hermits pretended to 
wear for a penance, well knowing that they could have no 
garment cooler, more comfortable, or more healthy. I mean, 
of course, the rough hair-shirt. Like flannel, it is a non- 
conductor of heat ; but then, too, it acts the part of a sham- 
pooer, and with its perpetual friction soothes the surface of 
the skin, and prevents the circulation from being arrested 
at any one point of the body. Though I doubt if any of 
my readers will take a hint from the wisdom of the merry 
anchorites, they will perhaps allow me to suggest that the 



LINEN. 



145 



next best thing to wear next the skin is flannel, and that 
too of the coarsest description. 

Quantity is better than quality in linen. Nevertheless 
it should be fine and well spun. The loose cuff, which we 
borrowed from the French some four years ago, is a great 
improvement on the old tight wrist-band, and, indeed, it 
must be borne in mind that anything which, binds any part 
of the body tightly impedes the circulation, and is therefore 
unhealthy as well as ungraceful. Who more hideous and 
unnatural than an officer of the Russian or Austrian army — 
compelled to reduce his waist to a certain size — unless it be 
a dancing-master in stays ? At Munich, I remember there 
was a somewhat corpulent major of the Guards who, it was 
said, took two men to buckle his belt in the morning, and 
was unable to speak for about an hour after the operation. 
His face, of course, was of a most unsightly crimson. 

The necessity for a large stock of linen depends on a rule 
far better than Brummell's, of three shirts a day, viz. : — 

Change your linen whenever it is at all dirty. 

This is the best guide with regard to collars, socks, pocket- 
handkerchiefs, and our under garments. No rule can be 
laid down for the number we should wear per week, for 
everything depends on circumstances. Thus in the country 
all our linen remains longer clean than in London ; in dirty, 
wet, or dusty weather, our socks get soon dirty and must 
be changed ; or, if we have a cold, to say nothing of the 
possible but not probable case of tear-shedding on the 
departure of friends, or of sensitive young ladies over a 
Crimean engagement, we shall want more than one pocket- 
handkerchief per diem. In fact, that last article of modern 
civilisation is put to so many uses, is so much displayed, 
and liable to be called into action on so many various en- 
gagements, that we should always have a clean one in our 
pockets. "Who knows when it may not serve us in good 
stead 1 Who can tell how often the corner of the delicate 
cambric will have to represent a tear which, like difficult 
passages in novels, is " left to the imagination." Can a man 

T 



H6 



DKESS. 



' of any feeling call on a disconsolate widow, for instance, 
and listen to her woes, without at least pulling out that 
expressive appendage 1 Can any one believe in our sympathy 
if the article in question is a dirty one ? There are some 
people who, like the clouds, only exist to weep ; and King 
Solomon, though not one of them, has given them great 
encouragement in speaking of the house of mourning. We 
are bound to weep with them, and we are bound to weep 
elegantly. 

A man whose dress is neat, clean, simple, and appro- 
priate, will pass muster anywhere. But he cannot always 
wear the same clothes, like Werther. The late Mr. Foun- 
tayn Wilson, notorious for his wealth and stinginess, thought 
otherwise. "When Napoleon the First was threatening Eng- 
land, and there was the same mania for volunteer corps as 
now, he bought up an immense quantity of grey cloth, in 
the hope that the government would give a good price for 
it later. He was disappointed, and to make use of his 
purchase, determined to wear nothing else himself for the 
rest of his life. Future biographers may perhaps invent a 
similar story, to account for Lord Brougham's partiality to 
checked trousers. 

A well-dressed man does not require so much an exten- 
sive as a varied wardrobe. He wants a different costume 
for every season and every occasion ; but if what he selects 
is simple rather than striking, he may appear in the same 
clothes as often as he likes, as long as they are fresh and 
appropriate to the season and the object. There are four 
kinds of coats which he must have : a morning-coat, a frock- 
coat, a dress-coat, and an over-coat. An economical man 
may do well with four of the first, and one of each of the 
others per annum. George the Fourth's wardrobe sold for 
£15,000, and a single cloak brought no less than £800. 
But George was a king and a beau, and in debt to his 
tailor. The dress of an English gentleman in the present 
day should not cost him more than the tenth part of his 
income on an average. But as fortunes vary more than 



ESTIMATE OF A WARDROBE. 



147 



position, if his income is large it will take a much smaller 
proportion, if small a larger one. But generally speaking, 
a man with £300 a year should not devote more than 
£30 to his outward man. The seven coats in question will 
cost about £18. Six pairs of morning, and one of evening 
trousers, will cost £9. Four morning waistcoats, and one 
for evening, make another £4. Gloves, linen, hats, scarves 
and neck-ties, about £10, and the important item of boots, 
at least £5 more. This, I take it, is a sufficient wardrobe 
for a well-dressed man who employs a moderate tailor, and 
the whole is under £50. It is quite possible to dress 
decently for half that sum, and men of small means should 
be content to do so. If a man, however, mixes in society, 
and I write for those who do so, there are some things 
which are indispensable to even proper dressing, and every 
occasion will have its proper attire. 

In his own house, then, and in the morning, there is no 
reason why he should not wear out his old clothes. Some 
men take to the delightful ease of a dressing-gown and slip- 
pers ; and if bachelors, they do well. If family men, 
it will probably depend on whether the lady or the gentle- 
man wears the pantaloons. The best walking-dress for non- 
professional men is a suit of tweed of the same colour, 
ordinary boots, gloves not too dark for the coat, a scarf 
with a pin in winter, or a small tie of one colour in summer, 
a respectable black hat, and a cane. The last item is per- 
haps the most important, and though its use varies with 
fashion, I confess I am sorry when I see it go out. The 
Englishman does not gesticulate when talking, and in con- 
sequence has nothing to do with his hands. To put them 
in his pockets is the natural action, but this gives an appear- 
ance of lounging insouciance, or impudent determination, 
which becomes very few men, if any. The best substitute 
for a walking-stick is an umbrella, not a parasol unless it 
be given you by a lady to carry. The main point of the 
walking-dress is the harmony of colours, but this should not 
be carried to the extent of M. de Maltzan, who some years 



148 



DRESS. 



ago made a "bet to wear nothing but pink at Baden-Baden 
for a whole year, and had boots and gloves of the same 
lively hue. He won his wager, but also the soubriquet of 
" Le Diable ennammeV' The walking-dress should vary 
according to the place and hour. In the country or at the 
sea-side a straw hat or wide-awake may take the place of 
the beaver, and the nuisance of gloves be even dispensed 
with in the former. But in London, where a man is sup- 
posed to make visits as well as lounge in the Park, the frock 
coat of very dark blue or black, or a black cloth cut-away, 
the white waistcoat, and lavender gloves, are almost indis- 
pensable. Very thin boots should be avoided at all times, 
and whatever clothes one wears they should be well brushed. 
The shirt, whether seen or not, should be quite plain. The 
shirt-collar should never have a colour on it, but it may be 
stiff or turned down according as the wearer is Byronically 
or Brummellically disposed. The scarf, if simple and of 
modest colours, is perhaps the best thing we can wear round 
the neck ; but if a neck-tie is preferred it should not be too 
long, nor tied in too stiff and studied a manner. Brummell 
made his reputation by the knot of his cravat, and even in 
so tiny a trifle a man may show his taste or his want of it. 
The cane should be extremely simple, a mere stick in fact, 
with no gold head, and yet for the town not rough, thick, 
or clumsy ; nor of the style beloved of Corporal Shanks of 
the Fusileers. The frock-coat should be ample and loose, 
and a tall well-built man may throw it back. At any rate, 
it should never be buttoned up. Great-coats are so little 
worn in this country that I need say little about them. If 
worn at all they should be buttoned up, of a dark colour, 
not quite black, longer than the frock coat, but never long 
enough to reach the ankles. If you have visits to make 
you should do away with the great-coat, if the weather 
allows you to do so. On the Continent it is always removed 
before entering a drawing-room, but not so in England. 
The frock-coat, or black cut-away, with a white waistcoat in 
summer, is the best dress for making calls in. 



STYLE IN MORNING- DRESS. 



149 



It is certainly very hard that a man may not wear what 
he likes, and that if I have a fancy to grandeur, and a fine 
pair of shoulders, I may not be allowed to strut along Pall 
Mall in a Eoman toga ; or having lost a seventeenth cousin 
removed, am forbidden by the laws — at least those of Po- 
liceman Z 500, who most certainly would insist on my 
" moving on" — to array myself in a paletot of sackcloth, 
with a unique head-dress of well-sifted cinders ; but so it 
is, and if my relatives did not commit me to the walls of 
some delightful suburban " Ketreat," patronized by Doctor 
Conolly, and make the toga an excuse for appropriating 
my small income, — even if the small boys would let me 
alone, and I could walk without a band of self-appointed 
and vociferous retainers, there would still be that terrible 
monosyllable, snob, to cure me in a moment of a weakness 
for classical attire. I will not enlighten you as to the 
amount of horror I feel at the mere mention of that title ; 
I will only say that those who do not care whether the 
title is given them or not, can afford to dress in any style 
they like. Those who do, on the other hand, must avoid 
certain articles of attire which are either obsolete or pecu- 
liar to a class. Thus unless a man is really a groom, why 
should he aspire to be like one % Why should he compress 
his lower limbs into the very tightest of garments, made 
for a man of seven feet high, and worn by one of five, 
necessitating in consequence a peculiar wrinkling from the 
foot to the knee, which seems to find immense favour in 
the eyes of the stable-boy. Unless you are a prize-fighter, 
again, why should you patronize a neck-tie of "Waterloo 
blue with white spots on it, commonly known as the 
" bird's-eye" pattern, and much affected by candidates for 
the champion's belt. If your lot has not been cast behind 
the counter of a haberdasher, can there be any obvious 
reason why you should clothe your nether man in a stuff of 
the largest possible check, and the most vivid colours ? Or 
if fortune did not select you for a " light" in some sect, 
or at any rate for the position of a small tradesman, can 



150 



DRESS. 



you on any plausible grounds defend the fact that you are 
seen in the morning in a swallow-tail black cloth coat, and 
a black satin tie 1 Kay, if like Mr. Fountayn Wilson, you 
had been speculating in cloth, black instead of grey, and 
had twenty thousand yards on your hands, you must on no 
consideration put any of them on your legs before a certain 
hour of the evening. Of course you may, if you please, 
wear jockey trousers, broad patterns, bird's-eye handker- 
chiefs, tail-coats, and black cloth, at any hour of the day, 
and in any portion of the civilized world, but it will be 
under pain and penalty of being dubbed by that terrible 
monosyllable, which nothing could induce me to repeat. 
No, it must be a shooting-coat of any cut or colour, or a 
frock-coat that is dark, or in winter an over-coat, but it 
may never be a tail-coat, and so on with the rest. You 
may dress like a bargee, in shorts and grey stockings, like 
a chimney-sweep in the deepest mourning, like a coster- 
monger, a coalheaver, a shoeblack, or as M. de Maltzan 
did, like " Sa Majestd d'en bas," and you will either be 
taken for a bargee, chimney-sweep, costermonger, coal- 
heaver, shoeblack, or demon, or you will be set down as 
eccentric : but if, while not discarding your ordinary attire, 
you adopt some portion peculiar to a class below you, you 
will, I regret to say, be, certainly most uncharitably, en- 
titled only a snob. 

So much for morning dress. 

It is simple nonsense to talk of modern civilisation, and 
rejoice that the cruelties of the dark ages can never be per- 
petrated in these days and this country. I maintain that 
they are perpetrated freely, generally, daily, with the con- 
sent of the wretched victim himself, in the compulsion to 
wear evening clothes. Is there anything at once more 
comfortless or more hideous 1 Let us begin with what the 
delicate Americans call limb-covers, which we are told 
were the invention of the Gauls, but I am inclined to 
think, of a much worse race, for it is clearly an anachronism 
to ascribe the discovery to a Venetian called Piantaleone, 



LIMB-CO VEES. 



• 

151 



and it can only have been Inquisitors or demons who in- 
flicted this scourge on the race of man, and his ninth- 
parts, the tailors, for I take it that both are equally- 
bothered by the tight pantaloon. Let us pause awhile 
over this unsightly garment, and console ourselves with the 
reflection that as eveiy country, and almost every year, has 
a different fashion in its make of it, we may at last be 
emancipated from it altogether, or at least be able to wear 
ltd, la Turque. 

Whenever I call at a great house, which, as I am a 
writer on etiquette, must — of course — be very often, I 
confess to feeling a most trying insignificance in the presence 
of the splendid Mercury who ushers me in. Why is this 1 
Neither physically, mentally, by position, education, nor 
genius, am I his inferior, and yet I shrink before him. On 
the other hand, if it is a butler in plain clothes who admits 
me, like Bob Acres, I feel all my courage ooze back again. 
I gave my nights, long and sleepless, to the consideration 
of this problem, and have now arrived at a satisfactory 
explanation. It is not the tall figure and magnificent 
whiskers ; it is not the gold lace and rich redplush ; it is 
not the majestically indifferent air of John Thomas that 
appals me ; it is the consciousness that my legs — my, as a 
man, most important and distinctive limbs — are in an 
inferior position to his. As an artist, I cannot but recog- 
nise the superior beauty of his figure. And for this dis- 
grace, this ignominy I suffer, I have to thank the Celts 
with their braccce, and the bad taste of some calfless 
monarch or leader of fashion — probably a German, for all 
Germans have bad taste and bad legs — who revived this 
odious, long obsolete instrument of personal torture. It is 
nothing less, believe me. Independent of a loss of personal 
beauty, there is the unhealthiness of a tight garment cling- 
ing to the very portion which we exercise most, and which 
most demands a free circulation. It is true, that the old- 
fashioned breeches, if too tightly fastened round the knee, 
produced the same effect, and Maria Macklin, a celebrated 



152 



DRESS. 



actress of male characters, almost lost her leg by vanity in 
the matter of " Honi soit qui mal y pense but, after all, 
what is not a cool stocking to a hot bag of thick stuff 
round the leg ; how far preferable the freedom of trunk- 
hose, to the hardly fought liberty of the " peg-top" trousers. 
But it is not all trousers that I rebel against. If I might 
wear linen appendices in summer, and fur continuations in 
winter, I would not groan, but it is the evening dress that 
inflicts on the man who likes society the necessity of wear- 
ing the same trying cloth all the year round, so that under 
Boreas he catches colds, and under the dog-star he' melts. 
They manage these things better abroad. In America a 
man may go to a ball in white ducks. In France he has 
the option of light grey. But in England we are doomed 
for ever to buckskin. This unmentionable but most neces- 
sary disguise of the " human form divine," is one that 
never varies in this country, and therefore I must lay down 
the rule : — 

For all evening wear black cloth trousers. 

But the tortures of evening dress do not end with our 
lower limbs. Of all the iniquities perpetrated under the 
Reign of Terror, none has lasted so long as that of the 
strait-jacket, which was palmed off on the people as a 
" habit de compagnie." If it were necessary to sing a 
hymn of praise to Robespierre, Marat, and Co., I would 
rather take the guillotine as my subject to extol than the 
swallow tail. And yet we endure the stiffness, unsightli- 
ness, uncomfortableness, and want of grace of the latter, 
with more resignation than that with which Charlotte 
Corday put her beautiful neck into the " trou d'enfer" of 
the former. Fortunately modern republicanism has triumph- 
ed over ancient etiquette, and the tail-coat of to-day is 
looser and more easy than it was twenty years ago. I can 
only say, let us never strive to make it bearable, till we 
have abolished it. Let us abjure such vulgarities as silk 
collars, white silk linings, and so forth, which attempt to 
beautify this monstrosity, as a hangman might wreathe his 



EVENING-DRESS. 



153 



gallows with roses. The plainer the manner in which you 
wear your misery, the better. 

Then again the black waistcoat, stiff, tight, and comfort- 
less. Fancy Falstaff in a ball-dress such as we now wear. 
jSTo amount of embroidery, gold-trimmings, or jewel-buttons, 
will render such an infliction grateful to the mass. The 
best plan is to wear thorough mourning for your wretched- 
ness. In France and America, the cooler white waistcoat 
is admitted. We have scouted it, and left it to aldermen 
and shopkeepers. Would I were an alderman or a shop- 
keeper in the middle of July, when I am compelled to 
dance in a full attire of black cloth. However, as we have 
it, let us make the best of it, and not parade our misery 
by hideous ornamentation. The only evening waistcoat for 
all purposes for a man of taste is one of simple black cloth, 
with the simplest possible buttons. 

These three items never vary for dinner-party, muffin- 
worry, or ball. The only distinction allowed is in the 
neck-tie. For dinner, the opera, and balls, this must be 
white, and the smaller the better. It should be, too, of a 
washable texture, not silk, nor netted, nor hanging down, 
nor of any foppish production, but a simple white tie with- 
out embroidery. The black tie is only admitted for evening 
parties, and should be equally simple. The shirt-front which 
figures under the tie should be plain, with unpretending 
small plaits. All the elaborations which the French have 
introduced among us in this particular, and the custom of 
wearing pink under the shirt, are an abomination to party- 
goers. The glove must be white, not yellow. Recently, 
indeed, a fashion has sprung up of wealing lavender gloves 
in the evening. They are economical, and as all economy 
is an abomination, must be avoided. Gloves should always 
be worn at a ball. At a dinner-party in town they should 
be worn on entering the room, and drawn off for dinner. 
While, on the one hand, we must avoid the awkwardness 
of a gallant sea-captain who, wearing no gloves at a dance, 
excused himself to his partner by saying, " Never mind, 



154 



DRESS. 



Miss, I can wash my hands when I've done dancing," we 
have no need in the present day to copy the Roman gentle- 
man mentioned by Athenseus, who wore gloves at dinner 
that he might pick his meat from the hot dishes more 
rapidly than the bare-handed guests. As to gloves at tea- 
parties and so forth, we are generally safer with than with- 
out them. If it is quite a small party, we may leave them 
in our pocket, and in the country they are scarcely expected 
to be worn ; but " touch not a cat but with a glove you 
are always safer with them. 

Not so in the matter of the hat. In France and Ger- 
many the hat is brought into a ball-room and drawing-room 
under all circumstances, and great is the confusion arising 
therefrom, a man having every chance of finding his new 
hat exchanged for an old one under a seat. I once walked 
home from a German ball as bare-headed as a friar, some 
well-dressed robber having not only exchanged his hat with 
mine, but to prevent detection carried off his own too. 
I shall not easily forget the consternation in an English 
party to which I went soon after my return from the Con- 
tinent, unconsciously carrying in my hat, and the host could 
not restrain some small facetious allusion to it, when I 
looked for it under the table before going away. A " Gibus" 
prevents all such difficulties ; yet as a general rule in Eng- 
land the hat should be left outside. 

I must not quit this subject without assuring myself that 
my reader knows more about it now than he did before. 
In fact I have taken one thing for granted, viz., that he 
knows what it is to be dressed, and what undressed. Of 
course I do not suppose him to be in the blissful state of 
ignorance on the subject once enjoyed by our first parents. 
I use the words " dressed" and " undressed" rather in the 
sense meant by a military tailor, or a cook with reference 
to a salad. You need not be shocked. I am one of those 
people who wear spectacles for fear of seeing anything with 
the naked eye. I am the soul of scrupulosity. But I am 
wondering whether everybody arranges his wardrobe as our 



DEEST, TJNDEEST, AND MUCH DEEST. 155 

ungrammatical nurses used to do ours, under the ' heads of 
" best, second-best, third-best," and so on, and knows what 
things ought to be placed under each. To be " undressed" 
is to be dressed for work and ordinary occupations, to wear 
a coat which you do not fear to spoil, and a neck- tie which 
your inkstand will not object to, but your acquaintance 
might. To be " dressed," on the other hand, since by 
dress we show our respect for society at large, or the per- 
sons with whom we are to mingle, is to be clothed in the 
garments which the said society pronounces as suitable to 
particular occasions ; so that evening dress in the morning, 
morning dress in the evening, and top boots and a red coat 
for walking, may all be called " undress," if not positively 
" bad dress." But there are shades of being " dressed 
and a man is called " little dressed," " well dressed," and 
" much dressed," not according to the quantity but the 
quality of his coverings. The diminutive jockey, whom I 
meet in my walks a month before the Derby, looking like a 
ball of clothes, and undergoing a most uncomfortable process 
of liquefaction which he denominates " training," is by no 
means " much dressed" because he wears two great-coats, 
three thick waistcoats, and the same number of " com- 
forters." To be "little dressed" is to wear old things, of 
a make that is no longer the fashion, having no pretension 
to elegance, artistic beauty, or ornament. It is also to wear 
lounging clothes on occasions which demand some amount 
of precision. To be " much dressed" is to be in the extreme 
of the fashion, with bran new clothes, jewellery, and orna- 
ments, with a touch of extravagance and gaiety in your 
colours. Thus to wear patent leather boots and yellow 
gloves in a quiet morning stroll is to be much dressed, and 
certainly does not differ immensely from being badly dressed. 
To be " well dressed" is the happy medium between these 
two, which is not given to every one to hold, inasmuch as good 
taste is rare, and is a sine qua non thereof. Thus while you 
avoid ornament and all fastness, you must cultivate fashion, 
that is good fashion, in the make of your clothes. A man 



156 



DRESS. 



must not be made by his tailor, but should make him, 
educate him, give him his own good taste. To be well 
dressed is to be dressed precisely as the occasion, place, 
weather, your height, figure, position, age, and, remember 
it, your means require. It is to be clothed without pecu- 
liarity, pretension, or eccentricity ; without violent colours, 
elaborate ornament, or senseless fashions, introduced often 
by tailors for their own profit. Good dressing is to wear 
as little jewellery as possible, to be scrupulously neat, clean, 
and fresh, and to carry your clothes as if you did not give 
them a thought. 

Then too there is a scale of honour among clothes, which 
must not be forgotten. Thus, a new coat is more honour- 
able than an old one, a cut-away or shooting-coat than a 
dressing-gown, a frock-coat than a cut-away, a dark blue 
frock-coat than a black frock-coat, a tail-coat than a frock- 
coat. There is no honour at all in a blue tail-coat, how- 
ever, except on a gentleman of eighty, accompanied with 
brass buttons and a buff waistcoat. There is more honour 
in an old hunting-coat than in a new one, in a uniform with 
a bullet-hole in it than one without, in a fustian jacket and 
smock-frock than in a frock-coat, because they are types of 
labour, which is far more honourable than lounging. Again, 
light clothes are generally placed above dark ones, because 
they cannot be so long worn, and are therefore proofs of 
expenditure, alias money, which in this world is a com- 
modity more honoured than every other ; but on the other 
hand, tasteful dress is always more honourable than that 
which has only cost much. Light gloves are more esteemed 
than dark ones, and the prince of glove-colours is undeniably 
lavender. 

" I should say Jones was a fast man," said a friend to 
me one day, " for he wears a white hat." If this idea of 
my companion s be right, fastness may be said to consist 
mainly in peculiarity. There is certainly only one step 
from the sublimity of fastness to the ridiculousness of snob- 
bery, and it is not always easy to say where the one ends 



STYLES OF DRESS. 



157 



and the other begins. A dandy, on the other hand, is the 
clothes on a man, not a man in clothes, a living lay figure 
who displays much dress, and is quite satisfied if you praise 
it without taking heed of him. A bear is in the opposite 
extreme ; never dressed enough, and always very roughly ; 
but he is almost as bad as the other, for he sacrifices every- 
thing to his ease and comfort. The off-hand style of dress 
only suits an off-hand character. It was at one time the 
fashion to affect a certain negligence, which was called 
poetic, and supposed to be the result of genius. An ill-tied, 
if not positively untied cravat was a sure sign of an un- 
bridled imagination ; and a waistcoat was held together by 
one button only, as if the swelling soul in the wearer's 
bosom had burst all the rest. If in addition to this the 
hair was unbrushed and curly, you were certain of passing 
for a " man of soul." I should not recommend any young 
gentleman to adopt this style, unless indeed he can mouth 
a great deal, and has a good stock of quotations from the 
poets. It is of no use to show me the clouds, unless I can 
positively see you in them, and no amount of negligence in 
your dress and person will convince me you are a genius, 
unless you produce an octavo volume of poems published by 
yourself. I confess I am glad that the neglige style, so 
common in novels of ten years back, has been succeeded by 
neatness. What we want is real ease in the clothes, and 
for my part I should rejoice to see the Knickerbocker style 
generally adopted. 

Besides the ordinary occasions treated of before, there 
are several special occasions requiring a change of dress. 
Most of our sports, together with marriage (which some 
people include in the sports), and going to court, come 
under this head. Now with the exception of the last, the 
less change we make the better in the present day, 
particularly in sports, where, if we are dressed with 
scrupulous accuracy, we are liable to be subjected to a 
comparison between our clothes and our skill. A man 
who wears a red coat to hunt in, should be able to hunt, and 



158 



DRESS. 



not sneak through gates or dodge over gaps. Of wedding- 
dress and court-dress we shall speak in separate chapters 
under the heads of " Marriage" and " The Court." But a 
few remarks on dresses worn in different sports may be 
useful. Having laid down the rule that a strict accuracy 
of sporting costume is no longer in good taste, we can 
dismiss shooting and fishing at once, with the warning 
that we must not dress well for either. An old coat with 
large pockets, gaiters in one case, and, if necessary, large 
boots in the other, thick shoes at any rate, a wide-awake, 
and a well-filled bag or basket at the end of the day, make 
up a most respectable sportsman of the lesser kind. Then 
for cricket you want nothing more unusual than flannel 
trousers, which should be quite plain, unless your club has 
adopted some coloured stripe thereon, a coloured flannel 
shirt of no very violent hue, the same-coloured cap, shoes 
with spikes in them, and a great-coat. 

For hunting, lastly, you have to make more change, if 
only to insure your own comfort and safety. Thus cord- 
breeches and some kind of boots are indispensable. So are 
spurs, so a hunting-whip or crop ; so too, if you do not 
wear a hat, is the strong round cap that is to save your 
valuable skull from cracking if you are thrown on your 
head. Again, I should pity the man who would attempt 
to hunt in a frock-coat or a dress-coat ; and a scarf with a 
pin in it is much more convenient than a tie. But beyond 
these you need nothing out of the common way, but a 
pocketful of money. The red coat, for instance, is only 
worn by regular members of a hunt, and boys from Oxford 
who ride over the hounds and like to display their " pinks." 
In any case you are better with an ordinary riding-coat of 
dark colour, though undoubtedly the red is prettier in the 
field. If you will wear the latter, see that it is cut 
square, for the swallow-tail is obsolete, and worn only by 
the fine old boys who " hunted, sir, fifty years ago, sir^ 
when I was a boy of fifteen, sir. Those were hunting days, 
sir ; such runs and such leaps." Again, your " cords" should 



HUNHNG-COSTUME. 



159 



be light in colour and fine in quality ; your waistcoat, if with 
a red coat, quite light too ; your scarf of cashmere, of a 
buff colour, and fastened with a small simple gold pin ; 
your hat should be old, and your cap of dark green or 
black velvet, plated inside, and with a small stiff peak, should 
be made to look old. Lastly, for a choice of boots. The 
Hessians are more easily cleaned, and therefore less ex- 
pensive to keep ; the " tops" are more natty. Brummeli, 
who cared more for the hunting-dress than the hunting 
itself, introduced the fashion of pipe-claying the tops of the 
latter, but the old original "mahoganies," of which the 
upper leathers are simply polished, seem to be coming into 
fashion again. 

"We shall now pass to a subject which, in every respect, 
is a much larger and more delicate one ; larger in the space 
it covers in the surface of the globe ; larger in the number 
of items which go to make it up ; larger in the expendi- 
ture it demands ; and larger in the respect of the atten- 
tion paid to it. If it takes nine tailors .to make a man, 
it must surely require nine women to make a thorough 
milliner. 



CHAPTER IV. 



lady's dress. 

Far from being of the opinion expressed by Catharine 
of Arragon that "dressing time is murdered time," the 
woman, we are apt to think, who has not some natural 
taste in dress, some love of novelty, some delight in the 
combination of colours, is deficient in a sense of the beau- 
tiful. As a work of art, a well-dressed woman is a study. 

That a love of dress is natural in woman, and that it 
has some great advantages, is so plain as to be scarcely 
worth recording. It does not follow that it should en- 
gross every other taste ; it is only the coquette's heart, 
which, as Addison describes it, is stuffed with " a flame- 
coloured hood." From the days of Anne Boleyn, who 
varied her dress every day, and who wore a small kerchief 
over her round neck to conceal a mark thereon, and a falling 
sleeve to hide her doubly-tipped little finger, dress has had 
its place in the heart of Englishwomen. And it is as well 
that it should do so ; for the dowdy, be she young or be 
she old, is sure to hear of her deficiencies from her husband, 
if she has not already done so from brothers and fancy 
cousins. Indifference and consequent inattention to dress 
often show pedantry, self-righteousness, or indolence ; and 
whilst extolled by the " unco gude" as a virtue, may be 
noted as a defect. Every woman should, habitually, make 
the best of herself. We dress out our receiving-rooms with 
natural flowers ; are their inmates to look inconsistent with 
the drawing-room over which they preside ? We make our 
160 



THE LOVE OF DRESS. 



161 



tables gorgeous, or at all events seemly, with silver, ^lass, 
and china ; wherefore should our wives be less attractive 
than all around thern 1 Amongst the rich and great, the 
love of dress promotes some degree of exertion and display 
of taste in themselves, and fosters ingenuity and industry 
in inferiors ; in the middle classes it engenders contrivance, 
diligence, neatness of hand : among the humbler it has its 
good effects. But in thus giving a love of dress its due, 
the taste, the consistency, and the practicability of dress 
are kept in view ; the devotion to dress which forms, in 
France, a " Science apart," and which occupies, it must be 
allowed, many, too many an Englishwoman's head, is not 
only selfish, but contemptible. So long as dress merely 
interests, amuses, occupies only such time as we can rea- 
sonably allot to it, it is salutary. It prevents women 
from indulging in sentiment ; is a remedy for maladies 
imaginaires ; it somewhat refines the tastes and the habits, 
and gives satisfaction and pleasure to others. 

Besides, an attention to dress is almost requisite in the 
present state of society ; a due influence in which cannot 
be attained without it. It is useful, too, as retaining, even 
in the minds of sensible men, that pride in a wife's appear- 
ance which is so agreeable to her, and which materially 
fades during the gradual decay of personal attractions. 
" Xo one looked better than my wife did to-night," is a 
sentence which one often rejoices to hear from the lips 
of an honest-hearted English husband, after a party or a 
ball, how much soever we may doubt the soundness of his 
decision. 

But whilst the advantages of a love of dress are admitted, 
how mournfully we approach a consideration of its perils % 
A love of dress, uncontrolled, stimulated by coquetry and 
personal vanity, until .it cancels every right principle, be- 
comes a temptation first and then a curse. Not to expa- 
tiate upon the evils it produces in the way of example, the 
envy an undue passion for and excess in dress excites, the 
extortionate class of persons in the shape of milliners and 
x 



162 



lady's dress. 



dressmakers it unduly enriches, and the enormous expenses 
it is known to lead to when indulged criminally, that is, 
to the detriment of better employments, and beyond the 
compass of means, let us remember how it implies selfish- 
ness and vanity, and causes remonstrances and often re- 
proaches from the person most likely to suffer from his wife's 
indulgences — her husband. 

Analyse the bill of a fashionable milliner when the dresses, 
of which it comprises a fabulous reckoning, are even only 
half worn out. What gauzes, and odds and ends of lace, 
and trimmings, useless after a night or two's wear, and 
flouncings and furbelows and yards of tulle illusion it 
enumerates ! Tulle illusion, indeed ! all is illusion ! and 
yet for this a husband's income is charged, often at an in- 
convenience, or a wife's allowance encumbered, or angry 
words engendered, or the family credit impeached ; and, 
worse than all, charity and even justice must be suppressed, 
on account of this claim from a milliner as remorseless as 
she is fashionable, for these two points are generally in the 
same ratio. Then there is another evil, it has been found 
that the indulgence in personal luxury in women has an 
injurious effect on the moral tone. It is in some natures 
the first symptom, if not the cause, of a relaxation in virtue ; 
at all events, it is often mistaken for such. A woman of 
simple habits, accompanied with nicety and good taste, 
rarely goes wrong ; at any rate is rarely supposed to do so. 
Luxury in dress, at first an indulgence, becomes a neces- 
sity : discontent, a sense of humiliation, and a yearning for 
what cannot be had, are the effects of that withdrawal of 
the power of extravagance which so often happens in this 
changing and commercial country. 

We used to point to America as the country in which 
excessive dress was a reproach ; the rich silks, the foreign 
lace, the black satin shoes, and the decollee evening dress 
of the fair inhabitants of New York, even in Broadway, are 
themes of comment to us all. We used to wonder at the 
French dame du monde, who gives six hundred pounds for 



LUXURY AND EXTRAVAGANCE. 



163 



her set of winter sables. Instances are not wanting, either, 
in Vienna and Bavaria, of ladies who spend seven or eight 
hundred a year on dress, independent of jewellery. It is 
remarked in Paris, that habits of luxe in every shape, but 
especially in dress, have come in with the present regime. 
The old Legitimist families, though habitually and innately 
studious in dress, prided themselves on their elegant simpli- 
city, as distinguishing them from bourgeoisie. The Court 
of Louis Philippe was remarkable for its homeliness ; and 
the Queen and the Duchess of Orleans set an example of a 
noble superiority to the vanities of life. Few' carriages 
were kept, comparatively ; and where ladies cannot have 
carnages, they must dress plainly in the streets. But with 
the marriage of Louis Napoleon, the Empress has, probably 
without intending it, been the originator of extreme richness 
and variety in dress ; and the contamination has spread to 
England. Never did women require so much. Every lady, 
and even every lady's-maid, must now have her petticoats 
edged with work. The cost of pocket-handkerchiefs is 
something marvellous ; the plain fine cambric, than which 
nothing is more appropriate or more agreeable, is only fit 
for our inferiors. Cuffs, collars, jabots, chemisettes, are a 
genus that half ruin a lady of moderate means. Until 
lately, flounces went into such extremes that it required 
twenty or two-and-twenty yards to make a dress for the 
wife of a hard-working physician or lawyer ; but, happily, the 
excess has cured itself. France, in returning good sense, 
now decrees that everything shall be plain. Trimmings, 
that snare to the unwary, out of which dressmakers made 
fortunes, and husbands lost them, are put down. How long 
this salutary change may continue no one can tell ; but a 
woman of sense should be superior to all these variations. 
She should keep within the bounds of the fashion. She 
should not dress out that perishable piece of clay with 
money wrung from the hands of an anxious, laborious hus- 
band ; or taken, if her husband be a man of fortune, from 
his means of charity. 



164 



LADY S DRESS. 



The proportion of what amongst the great we call pin- 
money, and amongst their inferiors an allowance for dress, 
is a very difficult matter to decide. Consistency, in regard 
to station and fortune, is the first matter to be considered. 
A lady of rank, the mother of three beautiful, ill-fated 
daughters, is reported " to be able to do" with two thousand 
a year for dress ! A monstrous sum ; a monstrous sin so 
to spend it ! When we look into the details of a recent 
bankruptcy case, in which the items of the famous Miss 
Jane Clark's bills for the dresses of two fashionable, and we 
must add most blamable, women were exposed, the secret 
of these enormous sums for dress is revealed. It consists 
in reckless orders, and their results, fabulous prices. A lady 
once followed the late excellent Princess Augusta into the 
rooms of a Court milliner. Having waited until that illus- 
trious lady had retired, it was time for the humbler customer 
to make her selection. She asked the price of a dress, 
apologizing therefor, for she was much impressed by the 
royal and dignified aspect which had preceded her. " Don't 
make any apology, ma'am," was the Court milliner's excla- 
mation ; " her Royal Highness never orders an article 
without asking the price ; and I always like to receive 
ladies who ask prices : it shows that they intend to pay." 

The cost therefore of dress depends so much on the pru- 
dence as well as on the discrimination of a lady, for she 
should know how to choose her dress, that it is difficult to 
lay down any rule of expenditure. For married women of 
rank, five hundred a year ought to be the maximum ; a 
hundred a year the minimum (and there are many peers 
who cannot easily afford to give their wives even so much). 
The wives of ministers, and more especially of diplomatists, 
who require to appear frequently either in foreign courts, 
or in our own, may require five hundred, or even more, 
though I am persuaded very few of our ambassadorial 
ladies have so much to spend. 

With regard to unmarried women, what a revolt amongst 
them there would be if old Lord Eldon were now alive to 



ALLOWANCE FOE DEESS. 



165 



lay down, as lie did, as a maxim, that forty pounds a year 
was enough for any girl not of age, even if she had large 
expectations ; and that was all he allotted to a ward of 
Chancery, who was heiress to five thousand a year. It was, 
perhaps, too little. In a trial, in which a celebrated bar- 
rister, who had an extravagant wife, was sued for dress- 
makers' bills for his reckless spouse, the judge stated that 
sixty pounds a year was an ample allowance for the wife of 
a professional man, and beyond that bills could not be re- 
covered. That was essential : more was extravagance. 

Certainly these legal authorities were moderate in their 
views j especially as no women are so extravagant — none 
so luxurious, generally, as the wives of successful barristers. 

The Times, whose range and power seem to resemble the 
elephant's trunk that can pick up a pin or crush a man, in 
a late sensible and amusing " leader," made a remark which 
will comfort struggling professional men, and, generally, be 
thankfully received by all who need some authority to aid 
in keeping the milliner's bill within due bounds. It was 
simply to the effect that a tasteful, careful lady, with the 
start of a moderately good trousseau, ought (and many do) 
to make twenty pounds a year suffice for the dress of her- 
self and children during the first few years of married life, 
and this without any compromise of respectability. 

Much, however, depends on management ; much on the 
care taken of dress. In these respects the French are 
infinitely our superiors. Even the grandes dames of Paris 
are not intimidated by their maids into throwing away a 
half-worn dress ; on the contrary, everything is turned to 
account. On entering the apartment of a couturiere one 
day, a lady was struck by the elegance of a ribbon trimming 
on a court-train. The couturiere smiled, and pointed to an 
old dress from which the still unsoiled ribbon had been 
taken. This was to be the dress, and the lady saw it the 
next night at the Tuileries, and knew it at once ; in this 
the sister of a- Due and Marechal of France, herself a 
Countess, appeared. We should find it impossible to get 



166 



lady's dress. 



any mantua-maker to perform such an act of virtuous 
economy in favour of an English customer. The due care 
of dress is also a great point towards a reasonable economy. 
In England, ladies think it becoming their dignity to be 
indifferent to the preservation of their dresses when on. 
In France the reverse is carried to an excess. " I once 
followed," said a lady, " a French lady in her carriage, as 
we both went to the same party. Her dress was composed 
of an exquisite tulle, with puffings of the same light 
material. She stood up in her carriage the whole way, for 
fear of crushing it." 

Whatever may be thought of this over-care of the dress 
in the higher classes, the habit of conservativeness is of 
vast importance to women in the middle class, and yet, 
strange to say, it is less common in them than among the 
great. Old families are mostly conservative of personalities ; 
it is a remarkable feature in them, and to it we owe those 
relics of times long gone by, which, had they been new in 
the present day, would have been deemed scarcely worth 
the preservation. 

But whilst too much cannot be said against extravagance 
and destructiveness, it must also be stated, under the head 
of the minor virtues, the wonderful art some people have 
of making a good appearance on small means. " A man's 
appearance," says the good, old-fashioned, sensible Spectator, 
" falls within the censure of every one that sees him ; his 
parts and learning very few are judges of." So, in regard 
to women. No stranger knows the heart that beats beneath 
an ill-made gown, or the qualities of head that lie hidden 
beneath a peculiar, old-fashioned, or hideous cap. A woman 
may be an angel of goodness, a Minerva in wisdom, a Diana 
in morals, a Sappho in sentiment, yet if she wears a soiled 
dress where all around are in new and fresh dresses, or has 
an ill-arranged bonnet or head-dress, esteem, even affection, 
will not resist a smile or a sigh ; and the mere acquaintance 
will have every right to jeer at what seems to imply an 
ignorance of the habits of good society. 



EXTRAVAGANCE IN FASHION. 



167 



Next in injury to her who practises extravagance of 
dress, is extravagance in fashion. From the middle ages 
the English ladies have been bad dressers. Witness 
Queen Mary when married to Philip n. of Spain, spoiling 
the effect of a superb wedding-dress, in the French style, 
by wearing a black scarf and scarlet shoes, which, it has 
been sarcastically observed, was worse than burning Pro- 
testants. During the last century head-dresses rose to a 
stupendous height, each lady carrying on her head a tower 
composed of a cushion, on which the hair was drawn back, 
and clubbed or rolled on the top of the neck. On this 
fabric were arranged feathers, flowers, pearls dangling in 
loops, ribbons, and old point lace. Sometimes a tiny mob- 
cap was stuck on one side ; the whole was so immense 
that even the huge family coaches were too small, and the 
ladies usually sat with their heads hanging out of the 
window of the carriage. Powder was a main ingredient, 
and hair-dressing was indeed a science. On great occasions 
the hair-dresser waited on our fair ancestresses betimes ; 
belaboured their tresses with the powder-puff, and, with 
what looked like the end of a candle, a pomatum-stick, 
until no trace of nature could peep out to mar the belle. 
Then he placed the cushion, sticking it on with long pins 
of wire ; next he stuck here and there the bows, or feathers, 
or flowers. After an hour's torture, in which neither back 
must be bent, nor head moved, he left her, not to repose, 
but to sit as if in a vice until the patches or mouches were 
stuck on skilfully ; the tight corsets drawn to an agony 
point ; the pointed and heeled shoes put on over the well- 
pricked silk stocking ; and the dress that could have stood 
alone, composed over a fortification of strong whale-bone 
that sprung out a great circumference, being a series of 
bands, regulated by a spring, and constituting that great 
feature of full dress — the hoop. 

In Paris, there was a champion of low heads in the 
person of a Swiss, who, not being able to see over £hese 
turrets of heads at the grande opera, used to cut away, as 



168 



lady's dress. 



one does at evergreens, right and left, in order to clear 
away the view. At last, the ladies, in dismay, and alarmed 
at his scissors, gave him up a front place ; but, eventually, 
the ridicule thus cast on the mode banished it, or helped to 

do so, and a less absurd coiffure came into vogue. 

The art of placing patches on the face and neck was of 
earlier origin, and came in during the reign of Charles it. 
It was of French origin ; and Henrietta of Orleans, the 
sister of the King, was amongst the first to display mouches 
or patches at court. This time even Mrs. Pepys was 
permitted by her husband to wear them ; and the vanity 
of the ci-devant tailor spoke forcibly in these words : — - 
" The Princess Henrietta is very pretty ; but my wife, 
standing near her, with two or three black patches on, and 
well-dressed, still seems to me much handsomer than she." 
Patches long held their reign ; and went out only with 
rouge, having even survived the reign of powder. 

At length a more natural taste dawned in England ; but 
it was reserved for Mrs, Siddons first to appear on the 
stage without powder, and her own rich dark hair ar- 
ranged in massive tresses on her fine head. 

Towards the beginning of the present century came in 
the extremes of tight dresses and short waists. The skirts 
of dresses were made as scanty as possible, and gored, that 
is, made much wider at the base than at the top. There 
was an inch of sleeve, and two inches of boddice. It was 
impossible not to be indelicate, unless you put on what was 
called a " modesty-piece," or tucker, formed of lace or 
worked muslin ; even then the requisite propriety was 
almost unattainable. As to the hair, that was drawn up 
to the top of the head, and two or three curls worn in 
front, just above the eyebrows. Since hoops had been 
outrageous, and head-dresses had obstructed the view of 
Her Majesty's liege subjects, society thus revenged herself. 
Politics, too, at that time influenced fashion. Then came 
the Brutus crop, in which style many of our fair ancestresses 
are depicted ; this was in compliment to the Eoman heroism 



CHANGES OF FASHION, 



169 



of the First Consul, Bonaparte, and was caught up in 
England. Small Leghorn hats, like men's hats, were all 
the vogue, and were in their turn displaced for high-crowned 
bonnets with an inch or two of poke, which yielded, in due 
course, to the cottage-bonnet, or capite. 

The hair at this time was getting higher and higher, 
until, about twenty years ago, it reached the giraffe — a bow 
of hair, or two, or even three bows raised on triangular 
pins made on purpose, and fastened skilfully into the hair ; 
over this rose the bow called — in compliment to the first 
appearance of two giraffes in this country — the giraffe 
bows. Their reign was short, and the hair sank down to 
the very extreme, and ringlets, which reached the very 
waist, and plaits low down in the neck behind, succeeded. 
There was a transient reign of the Oldenburg bonnet, in- 
troduced by the beautiful Duchess of Oldenburg, when she 
visited this country in 1818. This bonnet was nothing 
more nor less than a coal-scuttle in straw, and turned up 
roimd the rim ; it was tremendously warm to wear • and 
caricatures were drawn at the time showing a gentleman's 
difficulty in making love to his inamorata, whose face 
was enclosed in the Oldenburg bonnet. The effect of a 
number of these bonnets collected in a small space was 
ludicrous. A very pretty simple cottage, after all the best 
style, succeeded the Oldenburg. About 1821 the gored 
skirts gave place to those slightly gathered, or plaited 
round the figure. There was a perfect revolt against this 
fashion ; many elegant women heading the malcontents. 
Happily they were obliged to yield, and the loose and full 
flowing dresses came into fashion, and kept their place, after 
a disgraceful interregnum of very short petticoats, only not 
showing the knees ; which extreme, it is believed, induced 
the adoption of full and long skirts. 

With occasional deviations, the form of the dress has 
not very greatly varied since the grand revolution which 
discarded gores, until that counter-agitation which brought 
in crinolines. This innovation is well exemplified by 

Y 



170 



lady's dress. 



merely recalling the degeneracy in costume of the Imperial 
arbitress of fashion who introduced it. At one of the 
Tuileries balls in 1852, a young Spanish lady was the 
theme of all tongues. She was dressed in white, with a 
beautiful circlet of black velvet on her head ; on this 
circlet were stars of diamonds. The hair, blonde doree ; 
the brow, alabaster ; the somewhat melancholy eyes, with 
their long lashes, the regular but rather rigid pupil, were 
justly admired. Mademoiselle de Montijo, as she then 
was, was sparkling with happiness ; the Emperor, that 
general who has since well-nigh dethroned Austria, yet 
spared Venice, had that night signified his intention of 
making Eugenie de Montijo Empress of France, by placing 
on her head a white flower : she was radiant with ex- 
citement. 

Her figure, however, was the subject of all praise. It 
was slight, and perfectly well dressed. The dress was 
tight in the corsage, and full, moderately full, in the skirt. 
Since then, what a. change ! That small, but matchless 
form, far more remarkable for grace than for dignity, comes 
forth encumbered, unnaturally enlarged, and indeed de- 
formed with an excess of fulness which can only be sup- 
ported by a device which in principle is the grandchild of 
the hoop. As she walks, the petticoats shake about, and 
the artifice underneath is revealed. The Empress is there ; 
but the beautiful tournure of Eugenie de Montijo is lost in 
that mass of bouffons and flounces over the invisible though 
protruding crinoline. The infatuation has spread from the 
palace to the private house ; thence even to the cottage. 
Your lady's-maid must now needs have her crinoline, and 
it has even become an essential to factory girls. The smart 
young needlewoman has long thought that neither she, nor 
any one else, could appear without it. 

That there are some advantages in this modern fashion, 
cannot be denied. On State occasions it gives importance, 
shows off a dress, and preserves it from trailing on the 
floor. Tor walking, it has the recommendation of keeping 



CRINOLINE. 



171 



the dresses out of the dirt ; which may to some extent 
compensate for the very unpleasant and visible effect of 
" carrying one's tails behind one," since the skirt often 
shakes about as if there was a balloon around the person. 
Otherwise, the crinoline is unnatural — as some wear it, in- 
delicate — and cumbersome, and gives an appearance of width 
below that is perfectly frightful. Now, however, the excess 
seems abating. As if to make the contrast greater, those 
who so expand below, do not hesitate, in many instances, to 
contract above, by tight lacing ; but this also is a custom 
that has very much decreased of late years. Formerly, 
instances were frequently known of young ladies nearly 
perishing under the self-imposed torture of what may not 
be inaptly called the waist-screw. A physician at dinner 
one day with his family, was summoned by knocks and rings 
to a house in the same street, where there had been a 
dinner party. The ladies had just retired to the drawing- 
room, when, suddenly, the youngest and fairest of them fell 
fainting back into her chair. . Eestoratives were applied, 
but consciousness did not return. The physician came ; he 
was an aged and practical man, well versed in every variety 
of female folly. He took out his penknife : the company 
around thought he was going to bleed the still unconscious 
patient. " Ha, this is tight lacing ! " he suddenly said ; 
and adding, " no time to be lost," he cut open the boddice 
of the dress ; it opened, and, with a gush, gave the poor 
young lady breath : the heart had been compressed by 
tight lacing, and had nearly ceased to act. In another 
moment it would have been too late ; the action of the 
heart would have ceased altogether. 

It has been found, also, that the liver, the lungs, the 
powers of the stomach, have been brought into a diseased 
state by this most pernicious habit. Loss of bloom, fixed 
redness in the nose, eruptions on the skin, are among its 
sad effects. If prolonged, there is no knowing to what 
malady tight lacing may not tend ; its most apparent effect 
is an injured digestion, and consequent loss of appetite. 



172 



lady's deess. 



Of this, however, it is often difficult io convince the prac- 
tised tight-lacer ; for vanity is generally obstinate. 

No girl should wear bones or steels until she has done 
growing. Until then a boddice, close (fitting, but not tight, 
or even a mere fiannel waistcoat, is all that should be 
allowed, if a mother wishes to avoid seeing her child with 
a curved spine. During the reign jf tight lacing, and of 
stays so stiff, that when spread out they resembled a board 
in texture, seven women in ten were crooked. Whole 
families leaned on one side or the other. " You are no 
worse than your neighbours," was the common expression of 
any surgeon called in to attend in a case of curvature of 
the spine. That is not the case now, to nearly such an 
extent. 

But looking at tight lacing without consideration of its 
effect on health, and merely as its tendency to improve or 
to injure the appearance, nothing can be more absurd than 
to believe that it is advantageous to the figure. A very 
small waist is rather a deformity than a beauty. To see 
the shoulders cramped and squeezed together, is anything 
but agreeable ; the figure should be easy, well developed, 
supple : if Nature has not made the waist small, compres- 
sion cannot mend her work. Dress may do much to lessen 
the awkward appearance of a thick waist by clever adapta- 
tions ; by the use of stays both easy and well fitting ; by 
a little extra trimming on the shoulders, which naturally 
makes the waist appear smaller. All this may be done 
without injury ; no stays can answer the purpose so well 
as those made by a good French stay-maker, who has the 
art of taking a sort of model of the figure by the extreme 
exactness of her measurements. The stays are made single, 
and therefore fit better than double ones ; they give with 
every movement. Those lately introduced, which fasten 
at once, are not so advantageous to the figure as the old- 
fashioned plan of lacing behind, but are admirable in point 
of convenience and despatch. By their aid, elderly ladies 
who have not dressed themselves, but have been dressed by 



HOW FAR FASHION MAY BE FOLLOWED. 



173 



a maid for years, have become independent ; a great 
benefit to health and despatch. The slight exertion of 
dressing one's-self, the gentle exercise it induces after re- 
pose, the excellent habit of order, and the necessity it 
imposes of throwing off the thoughts, that may perhaps too 
much have occupied the mind during the hours of a wake- 
ful night, render the operation of dressing to those in fair 
health, a very salutary exertion. 

It is often disputed how far ladies are justified in follow- 
ing the fashion of the day ; how far they could be praised 
or blamed for conforming or for resisting the influences 
around them in that respect. To adopt the prevailing 
fashion, but not carry it to excess, seems the most rational 
line of conduct ; none but a great beauty, or a person of 
any exalted rank, can deviate, and hope to escape ridicule, 
from what fashion has introduced. Even in the acknow- 
ledged beauty, there is a presumption in doing so. Yet 
there were during the last reign three lively sisters, all now 
ennobled by marriage, who, at Court, when all were 
crowned with plumes, then worn like a crest on the head, 
nine or twelve in number, went to the drawing-rooms with 
a small feather on either side, and without diamonds : it 
was a courageous feat, but the effect was good, and pro- 
duced, some thought, the reduction of plumes at Court. 

A reasonable and tasteful acquiescence in the rapid 
changes — if not too rapid — in the modes of dress, is sen- 
sible and convenient. No single individual can successfully 
oppose the stream of fashion. Everything that is peculiar in 
dress is, we are convinced, more or less objectionable. Dr. 
Johnson was praising a lady for being very well dressed. " I 
am sure she was well dressed," he reiterated, " for I cannot 
remember what she had on." Now, had not the lady's 
dress been modem in the fashion, he would have been 
struck with some anomaly, some peculiarity, in form or 
colours. The general, effect was admirable : what more 
could be wished 1 details are important to the dress-maker 
and to the tailor : it is effect that tells on society. Too 



174 



LADY S DEESS. 



much importance cannot be assigned to the harmony of 
colours. No nation in this respect offends so greatly as 
the English : they mistake gaudiness for effect, or dowdi- 
ness for elegance. When full colours are in fashion, a 
lady, however well dressed, will look ill if she adheres to 
the delicate pinks and almost invisible blues which pre- 
vailed some years since, lovely as those pure and soft 
shades are. She will, however, require an artist's eye to 
combine the more glowing shades skilfully, in order to escape 
being the parroquet of the company. A certain duchess, 
noted for the magnificence in which her stately person is 
arrayed — so stately is it, as to bear down even royalty 
itself in queenly dignity — is so aware of the importance of 
combining colours well, that one of hevfemmes de chambre 
is a " combination maid," selected on account of her judg- 
ment in colours ; thus, every toilette for the day or night 
is submitted by her ; the shawl is affronted with the gown ; 
the bonnet is made to suit with both. The wreath of 
flowers is to be in keeping with the rich boddice, the bod- 
dice with the sweeping train; the rich jewellery, taken 
from a casket almost unparalleled among the subjects of 
any country, must not eclipse, but heighten the tints of the 
dress : the whole is placed for inspection, as an artist 
dresses up a lay figure ; and the repute of the combina- 
tion-maid is staked on the result. White was that gor- 
geous lady's favourite attire ; white, scarce purer than the 
face, " call it pale, not fair ;" white, which " combines" 
with every hue, ornament, or flowers : but the loveliness 
may now have fled before the approach of time, and rich 
colours have been selected as the appropriate tints for that 
middle age which is so beautiful in English women, and in 
English women alone. 

After these general remarks, let us come to particu- 
lars, and consider what, in modern days, are the different 
dresses appropriate to every different occasion in the higher 
and middle classes of life. It is true that the distinction 
between these is, in many respects, nullified ; that the wife 



MORNING DRESS. 



175 



of the merchant dresses much in the same way on ordinary- 
occasions as the peeress : still there are nevertheless dis- 
tinctions. 

The peeress, or the baronet's lady, or the wife of a 
minister, or of an opulent M.P., or of a very wealthy 
commoner, should, when she appears dressed for the morn- 
ing, be richly dressed. Silk, or, if in winter, some material 
trimmed with silk or velvet, should compose her dress. 
All that family of half-worsted and half-silk dresses, 
convenient for ladies who walk much, are unsuitable to 
matrons of rank and fortune. Let them leave them to 
their housekeepers (if their housekeepers will wear them). 
Rich dark silks, perfectly well fitting, ample in skirt and 
length, with a moderate bastion of crinoline underneath, 
suit the woman of rank. The basque, introduced by the 
Empress Eugenie, and now gone out of fashion, was pecu- 
liarly elegant in morning dress : it marked so completely 
the difference between the morning and evening costume ; 
it is becoming to most figures ; it is convenient for those 
who like to fasten their own dresses. It is, however, dis- 
continued, and a far less elegant form of dress adopted. 
The morning dress of the present day is worn close up 
to the throat, and the sleeves are loose and large ; so 
that underneath them, sleeves, richly worked, or trimmed 
with lace, may be seen hanging down, or fastened round 
the wrist with a bracelet. The fashion of these morning 
dresses varies continually ; but, as a general principle, they 
should be, for a person moderately embonpoint, made to 
fit and show off the figure perfectly. The accompaniments 
of sleeves, collars, should be of the most delicate and 
richest work ; the lace choice ; the lady of rank must 
remember that imitations of lace are not suitable to those 
who can encourage art and industry ; a lady must also be 
bien chaussee. If stockings are visible, they should be of 
the finest silk or thread ; the shoe well made, slight, and 
somewhat trimmed ; the fashion of wearing gloves in-doors, 
or even mittens, has much died away lately. The hand, if 



176 



lady's dress. 



exposed, should be habitually well taken care of. Nothing 
is so unlady-like as a hand that is either rough, or has 
become snn-burnt, in which case gloves should be used. 
Too many rings are vulgar. Those worn in the morning 
should be of a solid kind, not pearls or diamonds, which 
appertain to full dress ; but enamel, plain gold, opal, per- 
haps sapphire, carbuncle, may not be inconsistent with 
morning dress, and the same observation may be applied 
to the brooch. 

There is another style of morning dress which is elegant, 
that of the peignoir, a loose robe, which admits of great 
richness of texture; it may be of Cashmere or of fine 
Merino ; it may be made out of a shawl ; of anything but 
silk, which is more appropriate to gowns ; but this dress 
is scarcely suitable to any but the early morning hours, 
and ceases to be consistent in the gay afternoons of a Lon- 
don life, when the drawing-room is filled with callers. 

The morning coiffure, be it a cap, or be it the dressing 
of the hair, should be simple, compact, neat. The hair, 
when dressed, should be becomingly but somewhat mas- 
sively disposed. When it is rich and full, a very slight 
head-dress of Mechlin or Lisle lace, for married women, at 
the back of the head, is becoming ; when thin and weak, a 
cap should be worn with ribbon coming down in front. 
Nothing looks so bad as thin hair, underneath which the 
head is discernible in the day-time. Every ornament on 
the head is in bad taste in the morning ; one views with 
horror huge gold pins, or would-be gold, corresponding to 
ear-rings of the same false description. The peril of being 
induced to wear ornaments so meretricious, is, however, 
more to be dreaded in that class of society below the 
peeress's rank, with which it is particularly inconsistent. 
The French ladies are models of dress when they hold their 
morning receptions. Everything they wear is the best of 
its kind. The few ornaments they permit themselves are 
more elaborate and valuable than dazzling, eveiything 
announcing, as plainly as if it had been written on their 



/ 

WALKING AND COUNTRY DRESS. 



177 



doors, that they are in demie toilette. The perfect agree- 
ment of their dress with the hour and the occasion, is the 
secret of its almost invariable success. 

The same rules apply to walking-dress, which should be 
quiet in colour, simple, substantial, and, above all, founded 
on the science of combination. To see a bonnet adorned 
with crimson flowers, worn with a bright lilac dress ; green 
with scarlet, blue with plum, are sad departures from the 
rules of combination. In a town, even when, according to 
the time of the day, or time of the year, a walking dress 
should be simple, there should still be some degree of rich- 
ness in the dress. 

The very dowdy and common-looking style of dress 
should be avoided ; there should always be visible, through 
every change, the lady. Some of our ladies of rank, it 
must be allowed, though maintaining well the characteristics 
of grandes dames in society, are negligent in their walking 
dress, and seem to consider that it is only necessary to put 
on their dignity when they dress for dinner. 

For the country, the attire should be tasteful and solid 
and strong. The bonnet may still, though plain, and per- 
haps of straw or whalebone, be becoming. The hat, now 
so prevalently used, admits of some decoration, that gives 
both character and elegance. Worn almost irniversally on 
the Continent in summer, and now in England, it is the 
most sensible as well as the most picturesque covering for 
the head ; long feathers, even in the most tranquil scenes, 
are not inappropriate. Cloaks, of a light material for sum- 
mer, and stout in the winter, are more elegant and suitable 
than shawls, which belong rather to the carriage or visiting 
dress. One point of dress has been much amended lately, 
owing to the good sense of our Queen. It was formerly 
thought ungenteel to wear anything but thin Morocco shoes, 
•or very slight boots in walking. Clogs and goloshes were 
necessarily resorted to. " The genteel disease," as Mac- 
kenzie calls it, has, however, yielded to the remedies of 
example. Victoria has assumed the Balmoral petticoat, 
z 



178 



lady's dress. 



than which, for health, comfort, warmth, and effect, no 
invention was ever better. She has courageously accom- 
panied it with the Balmoral, boot, and even with the 
mohair and coloured stocking. With these, and the warm 
cloak, the looped dresses, the shady hat, and, to complete 
a country walking dress, soft gloves of the kind termed 
gants de siecle, the high-born 1 lady may enjoy the privi- 
leges which her inferiors possess — she may take a good 
walk with pleasure and safety, and not shiver at the aspect 
of a muddy lane. 

Next, in the description of a lady's dress, comes the 
carriage, or visiting dress. This should be exceedingly 
handsome ; gayer in colour, richer in texture than the morn- 
ing dress at home. The bonnet may either be as simple 
as possible, or as rich ; but it must not encroach upon that 
to be worn at a fete, a flower-show, or a morning concert. 
It must still be what the French call un " chapeau de 
fatigue." A really good shawl, or a mantle trimmed with 
lace, are the concomitants of the carriage, or a visiting 
dress in winter. In summer all should be light, cool, 
agreeable to think of, pleasant to look at. Nothing can be 
in worse taste than to keep on, till it makes one feverish to 
look at it, the warm clothing of winter after winter and 
even spring have passed away. Then light scarfs, of which 
those worn in muslin are very elegant, delicate muslins, 
slight silks, and grenadines, are infinitely more suitable, 
although they are less expensive, to summer and its bright 
hours than the heavy artillery of cashmeres and velvets, be 
they ever so handsome. 

The ordinary evening costume at home admits of great 
taste and becomingness. In some great houses it differs 
little from that assumed at large dinner-parties, except 
that ornaments are less worn. In France, the high dress is 
still worn at dinners, even those of full dress. In England, 
that custom, often introduced, never becomes general ; 
there is no doubt but that a low dress is by far the most 
becoming, according to age, complexion, and the style of 



FULL DINNER DRESS. 



179 



the house — a point always to be taken into consideration. 
Yet I should restrict this to dinners by candle-light. In 
summer a thin high dress, at any rate, is more convenient 
and more modest. Since there is something in exposing the 
bare shoulders and arms to the glare of day, that startles 
an observer, the demie toilette of the French may here 
be well applied. The hair should now be fully dressed, and 
with care ; flowers may be worn by the young ; caps 
with flowers by the elder ; ornaments, especially bracelets, 
are not inconsistent ; the dress should be of a texture 
that can bear inspection, not flimsy and inexpensive, but 
good, though not heavy. The same rules may be applied 
to the ordinary costume in an evening at home, except 
that the texture may be lighter. For all these occasions 
a lady of rank and fortune should have her separate dresses. 
She should not wear out her old ball or dinner dresses by 
her fireside and in intimate circles. They always have a 
tawdry, miserable look. She should furnish herself with 
a good provision for the demie toilette. Nothing is so 
vulgar as finery out of place. 

The full dinner- dress, in England, admits, and indeed, 
in the present days of luxury, demands great splendour. 
The dress maybe blue, silver-grey, crimson, make, lavender, 
or (but rare) very pale green ; pink is suitable alone to 
balls ; it may be of any thick texture of silk in vogue ; 
but in the fashion it must be. The dinner dresses that 
last for ever are- detestable. Trimmings of Brussels lace, 
or of Mechlin, or of Maltese, are preferable to blonde or 
tulle, which are for balls or soirees. The dress should be 
made in the newest fashion ; therefore no rule can be set 
down, except that for state dinners it should be long, and 
fresh, and sweeping. At large dinners, diamonds may be 
worn, but only in a brooch, or pendant from the throat ; 
a full suite of diamonds is suitable to very full dress alone. 
The same rule applies to emeralds, but not to pearls. 
Rows of pearls, confined by a diamond snap, are beautiful 
in every dress. They suit either the demie toilette, or the 



180 



lady's dress. 



stately solemn dinner. If flowers be worn, they should be 

of the very choicest ; ladies have so much time to examine 
and to criticise after dinner, that too much care of minutiae 
cannot be taken ; if but a rose, it should be from the very 
first hand. The fan, to be consistent, should also be first- 
rate ; it may be old, and painted after the manner of the 
exquisite fans in France, for which one pays as high as 
twenty pounds ; or it may be a mere invention of the day ; 
but it must be perfect in its way. Nothing is so inimical 
to appearance as an ill-made or soiled glove. There is 
such a wonderful mixture of economy and prodigality in 
the highest classes of English society, that it is not un- 
common to see ladies, resplendent in jewellery, with dirty 
gloves : in France, to which we have, in all ages, looked as 
to a model, such a barbarism could never occur. Every 
trifle in a lady's costume is perfect. She would rather go 
out in a shabby gown than in a collar of false lace, or with 
dirty gloves, or begrimed white satin shoes. It is not so 
in England : ladies who spend pounds upon a cap or a 
scarf, will hesitate before they put on x a clean pair of 
gloves. Dinner-parties are so often the prelude only, 
in London, to the festivities of the evening, that no strict 
rules as to dress can be set down. Generally speaking, 
there is a great difference between the dinner-dress and 
that of the ball. A concert, on the other hand, or the 
opera, requires only the head to be somewhat more adorned 
than at a dinner, and yet there was a fashion, several years 
since, of appearing even at the Italian opera in the simple 
toilette of a small dinner-party. The sortie du bal, or short 
evening-cloak, is one of the best modern suggestions for the 
health, and even appearance, of those who attend public 
places or enter into gay society. It should be of white 
merino, not of scarlet, which spoils the effect of the wreath 
of flowers. All complicated trimmings are inconsistent ; 
but the same rule of perfect freshness and cleanliness in 
respect to gloves is applicable to the sortie du bal. I am 
sorry to say it is violated every night : rows of ladies are 



BALL-DRESSING. 



181 



to be seen with resplendent gems in their hair, waiting for 
their carriages, in sorties du bal that are almost gray from 
the effects of London smoke. The striking relief and the 
contrast produced by one or two clean and fresh cloaks of 
this description is quite singular, and proves the truth of 
the above recommendation. And here let us marvel against 
the wonderful misplaced economy that will not permit an 
English lady to indulge in a new sortie du bal " this 
season," whilst she is, at the same time, lavishing sums 
upon all the endless et ceteras which Englishwomen of the 
nineteenth century cannot do without. 

At one of the most brilliant balls at the Hotel de Ville 
in Paris, an order was given for the company, who were 
to be numbered on that occasion by thousands, to wait in 
relays on the grand staircase leading to the reception-rooms, 
until a certain hour of the night or rather morning. This 
order was to prevent a rush to the carriages, and the 
danger incident to such a concourse wishing to leave at the 
same time. The ladies sat for an hour or more on that 
ample and matchless staircase, to the right of which was 
the artificial pool of water, surrounded by plants, and lighted 
by lamps, amid which the spray of a fountain cast up 
crystal drops, which fell dimpling into the water again. 
The light played upon the white cup of a large water-lily 
in the miniature pool, and the scene was at once remark- 
able and brilliant. As I looked around from the bottom 
of the stairs, and about, I could see many pale and weary 
faces, but not one dirty sortie du bal : all here as fresh, as 
clear, as snowy white as if new only that day ; some lined 
with cherry colour ; others with blue ; a few with amber ; 
most with white. Even after all the festivities were over, 
a Frenchwoman, if she could not look well, was resolved to 
look clean. 

Ball-dressing requires less art than the nice gradations of 
costume in the dinner costume, and small evening party 
dress. For a ball, everything even in married women may 
be light, somewhat fanciful and airy. What are called good 



182 



LADY S DRESS. 



dresses seldom look well. The heavy, richly-trimmed silk, 
is only appropriate to those who do not dance ; even for 
such, as much effect should be given to those dresses as can 
be devised. Taste, ingenuity, style, are here most requisite. 
Since the fashions continually alter, there is no possibility 
of laying down specific rules ; the dress, however, for the 
married, and for the unmarried lady of rank or of fortune, 
should be distinctly marked. For the married lady moire 
dresses, either trimmed with lace, or tulle and flowers, or 
white silk — no other colour in plain silk looks well — or 
thin dresses over white satin, an article which is happily 
coming into fashion again, are most suitable. Diamonds 
on the head, neck, arms, she may wear ; but the decoration 
of the dress with them should be reserved for court-balls, 
and for court. Formerly when diamonds were worn, flowers 
were either considered unnecessary, or even inconsistent ; 
now they are frequently intermingled. Small feathers are 
even worn at balls ; and, for the married, produce perhaps 
more effect than any other coiffure ; but they are wholly 
out of fashion on a young lady's head. The unmarried, in- 
deed, so long as they continue young, will best consult their 
own good looks by as much simplicity as is consistent with 
fashion. In Paris no ornaments, with the exception, per- 
haps, of a single bracelet, are allowed to the jeune file ; 
her dress must be white ; the flowers in her hair white 
also. To these general rules there are exceptions, but the 
appearance of a French ball is that of spotless white ; far 
different to the full colours often worn in England. 

White tulle over white silk (or white lace), and bouquets 
of flowers, corresponding to the guirlande or cachepenie 
on the head, are the favoiuite dress of the young lady. A 
par-iire of flowers, consisting of two flowers mingled, is ele- 
gant ; for instance, the rose and heliotrope, the parure 
forming the wreath which extends down the skirt ; or, of 
white flowers, the acacia, — of blue, the myosotis, — of green, 
the maidenhair fern ; these are all exquisite ornaments. 
Even the large white lily forms a beautiful parure. The 



THE HEAD-DRESS. 



183 



French always make use of the flowers in season, but we 
English are less scrupulous. A young lady will wear a 
wreath of lilies of the valley mixed with roses, in the depth 
of the winter ; holly and berries in June ; scarlet geraniums 
in spring. Large daisies are also liable to suggest ludicrous 
ideas. " That lady's dress wants mowing," said a wag, look- 
ing at a beautiful tulle dress, covered with white daisies 
with flaring yellow centres. 

Nothing, however, forms a more beautiful head-dress than 
natural flowers, carefully mounted. The French have a great 
art of mounting flowers on wire, and many of their ladies' - 
maids learn it ; some of the ladies excel in it themselves. 
For country balls and fetes, the effect is lovely ; and the 
perpetual variety obtained a source of that surprise and 
novelty which add so much to the effect produced by dress. 
The flowers should be neatly and firmly stuck upon wires. 
Variegated geraniums, and all the white varieties only, 
answer well ; white camellias (the red are too heavy), parti- 
coloured carnations, the rose Devoniensis, large white lilies, 
are all suitable to hairs of various shades. A parure of 
ivy is elegant — but it has become common ; in spring, 
the scarlet ranunculus has a rich effect ; in winter, the 
hellebore or Christmas rose is very appropriate. There 
is one of the carnival balls at Munich, in which the custom 
of wearing natural flowers is almost des rigueurs; it is on 
Shrove-Tuesday. Since in that severe climate it is diffi- 
cult to obtain natural flowers in perfection, the wreaths are 
ordered in Paris, and are articles of great expense. On 
seeing them beside even the most exquisite artificial wreaths, 
the effect is striking ; every tint in the latter has a want 
of that transparency which, in the natural flowers, is owing 
to the minute and almost invisible globules of water in the 
petals beneath the cuticle. The richest hues pall before the 
inimitable colouring of nature. Amongst thegarnitures on 
one occasion, that of the Queen of Bavaria was pre-emi- 
nently beautiful. She wore on her head a wreath of natu- 
ral roses ; in the centre of each rose hung a diamond dew- 



184 



LADY'S DRESS. 



drop. Her dress was white, trimmed down on either side 
with single roses, encircled with a single row of diamonds 
each, as if the dew hung round the petals ; in the centre 
was the diamond dew-drop. This beloved and beautiful 
princess, now, by marriage, the first cousin of the Princess 
Royal of England, always superintends the arrangements of 
her own ball dresses ; her taste is exquisite, and the inge- 
nuity with which she varies her costumes is remarkable. 

As ladies advance in life, the ball-room seems scarcely to 
be their province ; but since many of them are obliged to 
be chaperons, the style of dress most becoming personally, 
and also most consistent with that character, should be con- 
sidered. Many persons think that it little matters what a 
middle-aged lady wears, so long as she looks neat and 
respectable, and displays a sufficient amount of expensive- 
lace, diamonds, and so many ells of unexceptionable silk or 
satin. I am not of that opinion ; as long as a face is a face 
fit to present itself to society, so long should good taste 
carefully preserve the fast-fading attractions, not by art and 
cosmetics, or false curls, or roses round a sallow brow, or 
the lilies of the field, which are appropriate to youth alone, 
but by an arrangement of cap or head-dress that is becom- 
ing to the poor old ruins ; just as we like to see the mant- 
ling ivy clustering, ~and say how greatly it adds to the 
beauty of the old devastated fort or chapel. 

Under the head of festive occasions, the court dress must 
not be admitted. 

This costume consists, first, of an entire dress, generally 
made of some plain but costly silk. 

The dress, therefore, forms one component part ; next 
comes the petticoat, usually of some lighter material ; and 
lastly, the train. 

The dress is made, even for elderly ladies, low ; and the 
boddice is trimmed in accordance with the petticoat and 
the train. 

The petticoat is now usually formed of rich Brussels lace, or 
of Honiton lace, or tulle ; and often looped up with flowers. 



COUET-DRESS. 



185 



The train is of the richest material of the whole dress. 
Formerly it was often of satin ; now it is of moire* or glace 
silk, though satin is again beginning to be worn. 

It fastens half round the waist, and is about seven yards 
in length, and wide in proportion. It is trimmed all round 
with lace, in festoons, or on the edge, with bimches of 
flowers at intervals, and is lined usually with white silk. 

The petticoat is ornamented with the same lace as the 
train, sometimes in flounces, sometimes in puffings or 
bouffons of tulle, sometimes en tdblier, that is, down either 
side. 

The boddice and sleeves are all made in strict uniformity 
with the train and petticoat. 

The head-dress consists of feathers, and comprises a 
lappet of lace, hanging from either side of the head down 
nearly to the tip of the boddice. Diamonds or pearls, or 
any other jewellery sufficiently handsome, may be worn in 
the hair, but the two former are most frequently adopted. 
The same ornaments should be worn on the boddice around 
the neck and arms. 

The shoes should be of white satin, and trimmed accord- 
ing to fashion. The fan should be strictly a dress fan ; 
those spangled are the most suitable for a costume which 
requires everything to be as consistent as possible with the 
occasion. 

Having thus treated of the dresses suited to the house, 
and to all festive occasions, there remains only the riding- 
dress to mention. 

In this particular several changes have been made during 
the last two or three years. The round hat, of masculine 
appearance, is almost always exchanged for a slouched hat, 
sometimes of a round form, and turned up round the brim 
— sometimes turned up on either side, and coming with a 
point low down upon the forehead — and sometimes three- 
cornered : all these different forms have their votaries ; 
but it must be acknowledged that the more simple and 
modest the shape, the more becoming, 
2 a 



186 



LADY S DRESS. 



Formerly, the neat round hat, masculine in its form, was 
unembellished by even a bow ; but now, a long, sweeping 
feather on one, and sometimes on both sides, sets off the 
riding-hat. The colour of the feather is varied, but is 
usually black or brown, like the hat. The feather, it may 
here be remarked, should be full, well-curled, long and 
firm, not thin and weak, as if taken from an ostrich in a 
moulting condition. In winter, the hat should be of felt, 
of a soft kind, pliable and durable ; in summer, of a fine 
straw. It is not wise to get a hat made by an inferior 
hand. The style constitutes the grace, and renders it either 
a most becoming or a most tawdry feature in the riding- 
dress. And here let us remark on the great benefit of 
these slouching hats to the complexions which have so 
materially suffered of late years from small bonnets and 
round hats. Health, with delicacy, is the true charm of 
feminine physique, and, as far as a riding costume is con- 
cerned, nothing secures the freshness of the face better than 
the slouched hat. It is cool, and permits the free circula- 
tion of air around the face, while it protects the eyes, the 
forehead, and almost the chin, from scorching heat or 
withering blasts. 

Finally, as far as regards hats, let a hint be thrown out 
repressing the eccentricities of a fantastic taste : The art of 
riding is in itself conspicuous enough. A lady decked out 
in that position approaches the mountebank rider from 
Astley's or Franconi's. Her costume may be elegant on all 
occasions without being outre. The moment her taste de- 
generates so as to produce a striking effect, she may be 
sure she is making a mistake, and nowhere so fatally as on 
horseback. 

We must acknowledge that the change in riding-hats has 
another good effect. The lady equestrian cannot now be 
called masculine. " Bist ein Mann oder eine Madschen ?" 
cried out a number of little Rhenish boys as a young lady 
galloped through a village near Dusseldorf. The Spectator 
hag a sharp article on the ambiguous appearances of these 



ETDING-DEESS. 



187 



Amazons, as he styles them ; and in fact in the last cen- 
tury, when scarlet riding-habits were often worn, it must 
have been difficult on the riding-field to have distinguished 
a lady from a gentleman ; but now there is something 
picturesque, stylish, and inconsistent in the modest slouch- 
ing hat, the sweeping feather, and beneath them the rich 
clusters of hair bagged, and so confined in a net of black 
chenille. 

The habit has sustained some changes, and, as far as 
appearance is concerned, not for the better. It used to be 
invariably tight, well-shaped, with close sleeves. It is now 
often made loose, with deep cuffs, or, if worn tight, a loose 
jacket, or cosaque, can be put over it — an advantage in cold 
weather, but certainly not to the figure, which is never seen 
to more advantage, be it bad or good, than in a tight 
body, such as the old riding-habit. A plain white collar 
of fine lawn should be worn with the habit, deep lawn cuffs 
underneath the sleeves, while gauntlet gloves of thick lea- 
ther, and no ornaments, save perhaps a delicately -twined 
whip, need be displayed. Compactness and utility are the 
requisites for the riding-dress ; and, whilst touching on this 
point, let us impress strongly the danger arising from too 
long a skirt in the riding-habit : it is apt not only to alarm 
horses, but to entangle, in case of accidents, their fair 
riders. 

There, as in other cases, the principle of all that relates 
to dress should be consistency and suitableness. If these 
are once lost sight of — if fifty apes fifteen — if the countess 
dresses worse than her own housekeeper, or the maid vies 
with her mistress — if modest middle rank puts on the garb 
of fashion — if good taste and good sense cease to be the 
foundation of the important whole, then all special direc- 
tions will be unavailing. 



CHAPTER V. 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 

Lord Byron in one of his letters tells us that he might 
have been a bean, if he had chosen to drink deep and gamble 
fast enough. In Ben Jonson's time the main points of a 
" compleat gentleman" were to swear a new oath in every 
sentence, " By the foot of Pharaoh," " As I am a gentleman 
and a soldier," and so forth ; to take tobacco, and swear 
over its virtues ; to be able to run friend or foe through 
the heart with a bodkin ; and to write a copy of silly verses 
to a by no means inaccessible mistress. Beau Brummell 
had only three pet points : the way he took snuff, opening 
the box with one hand, the ease with which he cut an old 
acquaintance, and the grace with which he bowed to a new 
one. Lord Chesterfield seems to think that if a man can 
ride, fence, and dance well, he is skilled enough for good 
society. The three requirements are worth noticing. The 
first was essential, if you would have male friends, in days 
when knighthood was not quite a shadow ; the second 
allowed you to make good enemies, and kill or keep them ; 
the third fitted you for the society of women. 

The accomplishments of to-day, though they differ in 
many respects, have the same general bearing. In a man 
they are the arts required to keep a friend, to make an 
enemy, and to charm a woman ; in a woman, to surpass a 
rival and to captivate a man of more taste than heart. For 
both, however, they have a far higher object, that, namely, 
of giving pleasure to our fellow-creatures in some form or 
other, and of increasing the general harmony of society. 
188 



THEIE REAL VALUE. 



189 



They are in fact those corollaries to the problem of educa- 
tion, by which a person is fitted not only to " pass," but to 
" take honours" in the social examination. While it is im- 
possible to deny that a man may be a perfect gentleman, a 
woman a well-bred lady, and both of them agreeable in 
society, without a single accomplishment, we all of us feel 
that such a person must either possess no usual wit, like 
Dr. Johnson, who had not one accomplishment to add to 
his sound sense and learning, or be one who, content to fill 
a quiet corner in life, does not care to emerge from it even 
for the benefit of others. 

Accomplishments have a heavy run against them in the 
present day, and are decidedly at a discount. " Give me," 
cries Paterfamilias, bringing his fist with a heavy thump 
down on the table, <c give me good sterling practical know- 
ledge, and none of your pishty-whishty humbugging accom- 
plishments." Paterfamilias, you err, like many a British 
father, and in your love of the practical, you are blind to 
the immense advantage of cultivating the beautiful in every 
young soul. Paterfamilias, to take the most serious ground 
with you, it is the practical which shall lead you to money- 
bags and account-books, but the beautiful which shall 
guide you towards heaven. These same accomplishments 
at which you sneer have a much deeper meaning and value 
for your children than merely to shine in society. They 
constitute the whole amateurship of art, and in the present 
day to be thoroughly accomplished is to be half an artist ; 
yet the better half. You may not be able to give a concert 
in Hanover Square Rooms, but you have cultivated the 
music that lies within your soul. And there is music in 
every soul, and music is the most beautiful expression of 
peace and harmony ; and harmony is the most beautiful 
law of nature, of creation, the first rule of God. You may 
not be able to exhibit a picture in the Royal Academy, but 
you have learned to copy God's work, and learning to copy 
you have learned to observe and to know ; and to know 
God's work, is to know God in His work. Believe me, 



190 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



Paterfamilias, the study of art rightly undertaken is the 
study of God, and it is by cultivating the beautiful that you 
approach heaven. 

I do not say that every man can be a Crichton, but I 
do say that every man should aim at that character in some 
way, both for his own sake and that of those around him. 
How much more so a woman, whose very mission is to 
make life less burdensome to man, to soothe and comfort 
him, to raise him from his petty cares to happier thoughts, 
to purer imaginings, towards heaven itself. 

At first sight accomplishments seem to belong to women 
more than to men, but if we look more closely into the 
subject we shall find that a man has a double necessity 
upon him ; he must be fit, on the one hand, for the society 
of men, on the other for that of women, and this involves 
a double list of acquirements ; while those of women, which 
make them charming to men, fit them also for the company 
of their own sex. 

Thus we must refuse in this case the 'place aux dames, 
and take the men first. To mix comfortably with the 
society of his own sex must be the first object to a man, 
properly so called, and to do this he requires to know a 
certain number of arts which are common among his own. 

Foremost of these is the art of self-defence, which is one 
which society constantly calls into requisition. Fortunately 
the duel is gone out of fashion, and a man need not now, 
as in the days of good Queen Bess, come to town to learn 
how to pick and take a quarrel, and how to get well out of 
it when made. Fencing in England is now nothing more 
than an exercise, no longer qualifying a man to take his 
place as a gentleman among his betters ; but that which has 
succeeded to it is not without its importance, and the " com- 
pleat gentleman" should be able to use his fists. Low as this 
art is, and contemptible as are those who make a profession 
of it, it is nevertheless of importance to a man of every 
class, for a good blow often solves a difficulty as readily as 
Alexander's sword cut the Gordian knot. There are men 



BOXING. 



191 



whom nothing "but a physical punishment will bring to reason, 
and with these we shall have to deal at some time of our lives. 
A lady is insulted or annoyed by an unwieldy bargee, or 
an importunate and dishonest cabman. One well-dealt 
blow settles the whole matter. It is true that it is brutal, 
and certainly should be a last resource ; but to last re- 
sources we are often driven, and a show of determination 
brings impudence to an armistice. I would say, then, 
know how to use your fists, but never use them as long as 
any other argument will prevail, but, when all others fail, 
have recourse to that natural, and certainly most convincing 
logic. A man, therefore, whether he aspires to be a gentle- 
man or not, should learn to box. It is a knowledge easily 
gained. There are but few rules for it, and those are 
suggested by common sense. Strike out, strike straight, 
strike suddenly ; keep one arm to guard, and punish with 
the other. Two gentlemen never fight • the art of boxing 
is only brought into use in punishing a stronger and more 
impudent man of a class beneath your own. 

There is good in everything, and there is a view to take 
of the pugilistic art which compensates in some measure 
for its brutal character in this country. The fist has ex- 
pelled the sword and pistol. The former indeed went out 
about the beginning of last century, and Beau Nash, though 
by no means a coward, did his best to put down the wearing 
of a weapon which was a perpetual temptation to commit 
polite murder and disturb the harmony essential to good 
society. There could be no comfort and no freedom in 
conversation when, instead of politely differing with you, a 
man's hand moved to his sword-hilt. It is no argument 
against me that the rapier is still worn at court, for I feel 
convinced that nine-tenths of those ornamental but utterly 
useless appendages would never be induced to quit their 
scabbards, and, even if drawn, would be of no more value 
than a stick in the hands of at least nine-tenths of their 
courtly owners. 

But it was another kind of biped who put down duelling* 



192 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



and a cock-pheasant of Wimbledon-Common, jealous, no 
doubt, at seeing the powder which ought to have been used 
for him, thrown away upon a human being, or perhaps 
anxious to try whether a bullet tasted better than shot, 
who had the honour of making these encounters so superbly 
ridiculous, that to call a man out in the present day is 
equivalent to calling him a fool and confessing yourself 
idiotic. There are those, however, who regret the palmy 
days of twelve paces and coffee for four, and tell us that 
the fear of a hole in the waistcoat kept many an impudent 
man in his place and restrained unwarrantable familiarity. 
With all submission I would suggest that the fear of being 
knocked down on the spot, and having his beauty spoiled, 
is likely to be much more persuasive to a man who can 
offend in this manner. But will you kindly look across 
the water either way, and tell me if the silly custom, kept 
up both in Europe and America, has there the effect of 
awing men into even decent politeness % In the latter 
country, especially, where a " difficulty" almost always 
ends fatally, it is by no means uncommon for a complete 
stranger to put his hands into his pockets, cock his eye at 
you, and inform you by way of introduction, "Wall, I guess 
you're a tarnation loggerhead, yeeou aire," proceeding to 
pass comments on your nationality, your personal appear- 
ance, and your general mental capacities, according to the 
" guess," " reckoning," or " cal-cyoo-lation" of the speaker. 
If you were to meet these with astonishment, indignation, 
anger, or, in short, in any way but by the retort personal and 
direct of the tu quoque description, you would be looked on as 
a disagreeable, testy, and pugnacious Britisher, and the rest 
of the company would probably request you to " shut up." 
In fact so universal is insolence in America, that even in 
what is there called good society — the " up-town" sets — 
you are liable to be assailed with the grossest epithets, and 
it is only after being bespattered with essence of Billings- 
gate, that you would be allowed to remark, " Wall, that's 
wme, that is ; I reckon my dander's ris a bit after that." 



FIELD SPORTS. 



193 



Of course these remarks do not apply to New York, which, 
in civilisation, is as far in advance of the States generally, 
as London is of the Hebrides. 

It is no longer necessary, therefore, to give the etiquette 
of duelling, which may be gathered, as a curiosity, from 
almost every novel written twenty years ago. It would be 
as sensible to give the etiquette of murder. As to its 
immorality, it has been discussed again and again, and 
the custom has been finally condemned on that score. 

Of course to knock a man down is never good manners, 
but there is a way of doing it gracefully, and one rule 
should be observed, viz., whether you can command your 
temper or not, never show it, except by the blow. Never 
assail an offender with words, nor when you strike him, 
use such expressions as, " Take that," &c. There are cases 
in society when it is quite incumbent on you to knock an 
offender down, if you can, whether you feel angry or not, 
so that, if to do so is not precisely good manners, to omit 
it is sometimes very bad manners ; and to box, and that 
well, is therefore an important accomplishment, particularly 
for little men. 

It is decidedly a relief to quit that subject, and I am not 
ambitious of emulating those gentlemen of the sword of 
Queen Elizabeth's day, who, for a small gratuity, would 
decide for you whether your honour was hurt or not — a 
question they usually contrived to answer in the negative, 
to the great relief and satisfaction of the applicant. 

Our field sports have been so often and justly lauded, 
that I shall not now speak of them in a constitutional point 
of view, but their effect on society is a matter of no small 
interest, and it is extremely agreeable to Englishmen to be 
reminded of points of their superiority over their neigh- 
bours. I am inclined to think that our love of sports, if 
it spoils the London season, and makes dancing a torment, 
does none the less assist our women to be virtuous, and our 
men to be noble. The effect of a want of good, healthy 
out- door amusements is to make of a man either a carpet- 
2b 



194 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



knight, or a hanger about cafe's. The life of cities tends 
to demoralize, and anything which takes a man away from 
a town for a time has its value. Thus hunting, shooting, 
riding, driving, cricket, and so forth, are as important ele- 
ments of social life as dancing and music, and to be igno- 
rant of their art will not only exclude one from much 
charming society we might sometimes enjoy, but will often 
cause us to put others to great inconvenience, if it does 
not equally annoy ourselves. Often in the country there 
is no other conveyance but a horse and saddle to be had. 
What are we to do if we cannot ride 1 Still oftener the 
whole arrangement of some party of pleasure depends on 
our being able to leave the coachman behind, and it is to 
us, the only gentleman perhaps, that the ladies apply to 
take his place. How, then, if we cannot handle a whip 1 
Then, too, in the country, riding and driving are such 
common accomplishments, that besides the inconvenience, 
our ignorance of them subjects us even to ridicule. What 
more laughable than a man jolted up and down on his 
horse, till his hat slips to the back of his head, his hair 
flies about, his trousers creep up to his knees, and his face ex- 
presses either pitiable misery or ludicrous discomfort ? On the 
other hand, to hunt, shoot, handle a bat, or a billiard-cue, 
though by no means expected of every man, are often the only 
amusements in the country, and we may, if ignorant of them, 
not only be shut out from them ourselves, but even oblige 
our host to give them up on our account. In fact, the more 
of such accomplishments you know, the less tedious will 
your life be to yourself and your company to others, and 
though wit and conversation are worth all the amusements 
which a toy-maker could dream of, you must not forget 
that the world is mainly peopled with fools, and that to 
appreciate your sallies, and join in your mirth, requires an 
amount of sense which is not to be found in every country 
bumpkin. Should the weird sisters, in a fit of bad temper,, 
send you by express to sojourn for a month with a gentle- 
man-farmer or small hunting squire, what can you do but 



RIDING. 



195 



shoot, ride, or drive with him 1 Will your heavy-headed 
host, who dreams of partridges, and vacillates between 
long-horns and turnips in his waking thoughts, care for 
your choice club-gossip, understand your fine-edged wit, or 
thank you for your political news and Parliamentary pro- 
spects 1 No, no ; you must relate, slowly and surely, how 
on such a day in such a year you " met " at such a village, 
" drew" such a cover, threw off in such a direction, " cast" 
at such a spot, ran for so many minutes, and made so many 
wonderful, probably also apocryphal, leaps during that 
period. Relate how many birds you bagged, what score 
you made at any insignificant cricket-match, and how you 
swam from Barnes to Brentford against tide and stream. 
Then, indeed, is your man your friend, and he will privately 
impart to his wife that evening that he thinks you " an 
amazingly fine fellow," which would have sounded very like 
" horrid bore," if you had not been able to come out on 
these subjects. 

I have no intention to trespass on Mr. Karey's province, 
and I am further of opinion that equitation cannot, like 
grammar, be learned from a book, but there are a few use- 
ful hints about the etiquette of riding, which may well be 
introduced here. The first thing, then, is to dress suitably. 
Boots and cords were once the sine qud non of a horseman, 
but though they are very comfortable, and may still be 
worn in the country, when you are not going to ride with 
ladies, they have been interdicted in town, and would mark 
you out as a riding-master. On the other hand, you must 
avoid too fine a dress, such as patent leather boots, and 
should wear a cut-away in preference to a frock-coat. Above 
all, let the stick or whip be simple, with no gold head, no 
flummery about it. For the country, you may have what is 
commonly called a " crop," with a bone handle at the end ; 
for town, you may take either an ordinary walking-stick, or 
a gentleman's riding-whip, mounted simply with silver. In 
all other respects, your dress should be that in which you 
walk. The lady's dress has been described in the last chapter. 



196 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



A man who rides without ladies requires no groom to 
follow him, and a young man particularly should never 
take one, even though he intends to make calls. A lady, 
on the other hand, should never ride alone, except in quiet 
parts of the country. In London she would be taken for 
a demoiselle du cirque, and in the country she would be 
liable to accidents, with no one to assist her. A young 
lady should not ride out without a gentleman, as well as 
a groom, and, under most circumstances, mamma would 
decidedly object to that gentleman being young and single, 
unless he were a very intimate friend. 

Having thus arranged your dress and your party, you go 
down and mount-^-no, you do not mount yourself, but assist 
the ladies. There never was so lame a legend as that of a 
certain lady of Coventry, whom Tennyson and Thomas the 
Inquisitive have rendered celebrated. Of course it is very 
pretty, and we who honour women as we should (though 
we burnt la Pucelle a" Orleans), and have had a range of 
noble ones from Boadicea to Florence Nightingale, can well 
believe that Godiva was as modest as she was merciful ; 
but have we ever asked — who assisted her ? Perhaps you 
will tell me that till a very recent period, no stable-yard 
was without a flight of three stone-steps standing by them- 
selves, and that women always mounted from these. I 
know it, and have seen hundreds of them in the western 
counties ; but before I admit your argument, you must 
show me that these steps existed in the days of the fair 
equestrian who wore no garb but modesty ; you must prove 
that those people are wrong who describe the ladies of the 
olden time as mounting from the shoulder of a serving- 
man or a gallant. 

However this may be, neither steps nor shoulders are so 
good as a steady hand, which is the means patronized by 
modern horsewomen. The lady having gathered up her 
skirt, and holding it in her left hand, must place herself as 
close as possible to the horse, with her face towards the 
animal's head, and her right hand on the pummel. The 



MOUNTING AND THE SEAT. 



197 



gentleman, whose part and privilege it is to assist her, 
having first obtained her consent to do so, then places 
himself at the horse's shoulder with his face towards the 
lady, and, stooping a little, places his right hand horizon- 
tally at a convenient elevation from the ground. On the 
palm of this hand the damsel sets her sweet little left foot, 
and it is then the gentleman's duty to lift it with a gentle 
motion as she herself springs upwards. But beware that 
you do not jerk it up too suddenly, lest she lose her balance 
and be thrown back over the saddle. I have seen a lady 
nearly killed by awkward mounting. 

A man should be able to mount on either side of the 
horse, and ladies who ride much and wish to keep their 
figures straight, change the side from time to time. When 
the lady is in the saddle you should offer to put. her foot 
in the stirrup and to pull down the skirt, and you then give 
her the reins, and proceed to mount yourself. Mr. Rarey 
teaches us to do so without stirrups, and a man who would 
be graceful should practise this on either side. A horse, 
like most other animals, has two sides. The one which is 
to our left when we are in the saddle is called the near, 
the other the of side, and it is on the former that we 
generally mount. We place our left foot in the stirrup, 
our left hand on the saddle, and swing ourselves up, throw- 
ing the right leg over the creature's back. Nothing is 
more graceless than to see a man climb with both hands 
into his seat. 

The seat itself is one of those things which must be 
learnt by practice. The chief rules are : sit upright, but 
not stiffly, and well back in the saddle ; stick the knees 
into the sides thereof, and keep the feet parallel to the 
horse's body, the toes turned in rather than out. The foot 
should be about half-way in the stirrup, which in rough- 
riding may be allowed to slip down to the hollow of the 
foot. The greatest obstacle to good riding is want of con- 
fidence, and this can scarcely be acquired, except by begin- 
ning at an early age. If you cannot ride decently, you 



198 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



had better not attempt it in company, if you would not 
risk the fate of Geordie Campbell, — 

"-Saddled, and bridled, and booted rode he, 
Hame cam bis gude steed, but never cam he." 

The rule of the road need not be observed in riding as in 
driving, but you should always ride to the right of the lady 
who is with you, lest you risk crushing her feet. Your 
own, of course, you must not care about. When you meet 
people whom you know on horseback, you have no right to 
turn and join them, unless invited to do so. If you over- 
take them, on the other hand, you have a right to ride 
with them ; but if you are not wanted, you will be careful 
about exercising the privilege. 

About hunting I shall say little, because I know little, 
which is a confession you will find it the wisest plan to 
make in the country. I shall only advise you not to hunt 
unless you have a good seat and a good horse, and never 
accept the loan of a friend's horse, still less an enemy's, 
unless you can ride very well. A man may forgive you 
for breaking his daughter's heart, but never for breaking 
his hunter's neck. Another point is always to be quiet at 
a meet, and never join a small meet unless you know some 
one in the field. The first essential for hunting is pluck ; 
the second, skill ; the third, a good horse. Avoid talking 
of your achievements, enthusiastic shouting when you break 
cover, and riding over the hounds. Whatever you do, do 
not injure one of those precious animals. 

There is a grace in riding which no jockey, no profes- 
sional huntsman ever acquires. When once you have con- 
fidence, ease may soon follow ; but without much practice, 
you will always be more or less stiff in your seat. A lady 
should be careful to sit straight in the middle of the saddle, 
with her face full towards the horse's head. Whatever the 
motion of the animal, you should attempt to cling as closely 
as possible to the saddle. The Austrian officers pride 
themselves on being able to trot for a mile with a glass of 



DRIVING. 



199 



wine in one hand, and not spill a drop of it. In England 
we rise in trotting, as a relief to ourselves and the horse, 
but this is never done in any other country. The first 
rule is to rise, not from the stirrup, but from the knees ; 
the second, to rise as little as possible. The man who 
" shows daylight" between himself and his saddle is a bad 
rider. A lady should rise even less than a man, and 
neither of them should lean over the horse's neck, nor hold 
the reins in both hands. But I am not a riding-master, 
and I am trespassing on his ground. 

Driving, again, is an accomplishment of butcher's boys 
and hansom cabmen as much as of " gentlemen," but 
there is a vast difference in the style. One rule may be 
given at once, and we may unhesitatingly affirm that Jehu 
the son of Nimshi was " no gentleman," when we remind 
you that to drive furiously, as well as to ride furiously, is 
not only forbidden by law, but a low, cruel, ungentleman- 
like habit. 

" The beggar motnted rides his horse to death." 

If you drive too fast, I am tempted to ask whether the 
animal is your own, and whether you know its value. I 
may add, that if wise you will never drive other people's 
horses unless asked to do so. The rule of the road in 
England is a curious instance of our national distinctive- 
ness. In every other country that I know, the law is 
simple enough : always keep to the right side of the road. 
In this land, on the contrary, you must take the left when 
you meet, and the right when you pass. The custom, I 
believe, originated in that of shaking hands with every one 
you met, which reminds me of a pretty one they once 
had, and even now retain in some parts of France, that of 
a man and lady riding hand in hand together. I have 
even ridden arm in arm with a fair-haired blue-eyed Norman 
girl, and if I did not snatch a kiss there and then, it was 
not for fear of losing my balance. Well, our grandmothers 
used to ride on one horse with our grandfathers, tucking 



200 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



their fingers into the belts which the latter wore, and 
seated on the pillion much more comfortably than their 
grand-daughters on the pummel ; but what horses they must 
have had in those days ! 

But to return to driving. It is a simple art, requiring 
care rather than aught else, unless it be a knowledge of the 
dispositions of the horse or horses you undertake to drive. 
One horse or a pair can give but little embarrassment, and 
you will seldom be called upon to drive tandem, unicorn, or 
four in hand. But, perhaps, more accidents occur in turn- 
ing corners than in anything else, and I should not do my 
duty, if I did not advise you, when the corner is on your 
right hand, to give it a wide berth \ when on your left, to 
turn it gently and as slowly as possible. 

The exercises which come rather under the head of 
games, such as cricket, rackets, tennis, bowls, skittles, and 
a dozen others, are by no means compulsory on any man 
to know, and I shall therefore leave their description to 
the many and various guide-books destined to introduce the 
young athlete to British Olympics. But I may remark 
that, while these games are purely republican in spirit, and 
my lord, if clumsy, ranks lower for the time than the 
skilful villager, it is no way difficult to distinguish the well- 
bred man, whether a good player or not. For while he 
yields entirely to the excitement of the game, he will refuse 
to join in the silly familiarities to which it sometimes leads. 
You will never hear him banter another on his bad play, 
nor, as too common in some games, will he vent oaths and 
strong epithets on some one who has made a gross error. 
When he does so himself, he will confess himself wrong, 
and not clamorously defend himself ; and, if he has to ask 
another player for anything, he will call to him in an affable 
not an impatient commanding tone, and use some such 
phrase as : " May I trouble you for that ball, sir ?" not 
" Ball, you there," as one sometimes hears it. In short, he 
will retain, under the excitement of the game, the same 
good bearing which he displays in society. 



SPORTS. 



201 



Similar observations apply to all kinds of out-door 
amusements, such as shooting, boating, and so forth. A 
gentleman will never attempt to monopolize the sport, and 
however superior in skill to his companions, will not parade 
his superiority, still less boast of it, but rather, that the 
others may not feel their inferiority, he will keep consider- 
ably within his powers. If a guest or a stranger be of the 
party, the best place and the best sport must be offered to him, 
even though he may be a poor shot, a bad oar, and so on ; 
but, at the same time, if a guest knows his inferiority in 
this respect, he will, for more reasons than one, prefer an 
inferior position. So, too, when a certain amount of exer- 
tion is required, as in boating, a well-bred man will offer to 
take the greater share, and will never shirk his work. In 
short, the whole rule of good manners on such occasions is 
not to be selfish, and the most amiable man will therefore 
be the best bred. 

Talking of boating reminds one of old college days, and 
the healthy happiness that exercise used to bring one. It 
is certainly desirable that a " compleat gentleman" should 
be able to handle an oar as well as a gun, both that when 
he has the opportunity he may get health, and that he may 
be able to take part in the charming excursions which are 
made by water. In fact a man ought to be able to turn 
his hand to almost everything, and, what is more, should 
do himself whatever he can. It is a false and vulgar pride 
which prevents a man from stooping to cord his own box, 
carrying his own bag, weeding his own garden, cutting his 
own hedges (for he must take care not to cut anybody 
else's), shutting his own shutters, putting coal on his own 
fire, or what not. To ring up a servant for these things, 
shows either laziness or a vulgar attempt at grandeur. 
Indeed, for my part, nothing seems to me so comfortless as 
the constant entrance of servants ; it interrupts conversa- 
tion, and destroys the feeling of ease and privacy. I once 
met, at the house of a lady friend, the son of a man who 
had begun life as a grocer, made his fortune by a successful 
2 c 



202 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



speculation, and settled down in the full conviction that he 
was therefore a " gentleman." My friend had requested 
the young man to put some coal on the fire, and as he was 
rather clumsy about it, he excused himself in the following 
speech : "You see, aw — Mrs. B — , that I am — aw — really 
not accustomed to do this kind of thing, don't you see 1 
Now at home, you see, the governor, when he wants coals, 
rings the bell, and the butler comes in ; ' Coal,' says the 
old gentleman, and the butler disappears to tell — aw — the 
upper-footman, who thinks it beneath his dignity, and 
therefore tells — aw — the under-footman, who comes up and 
puts it on." I thought of the Anglo-Indians, who, in this 
country, have often had no more servants than a cook, a 
maid, and a " buttons," and had to do everything for them- 
selves, but who once in India, find it impossible to tie their 
own shoe-strings, and are obliged to keep a twenty-oneth 
or even thirty-oneth servant for equally trivial offices. 

But if a certain amount of skill in out-door amusements 
is essential to a man who wishes to be agreeable, how 
much more so in those in-door amusements, which are the 
very objects for which people commonly assemble, and are 
therefore the continual accompaniments of society ? The 
art of talking is, of course, the first of such accomplish- 
ments, and as it is a subject of the highest importance and 
very large range, it has been taken up in the preliminary 
chapter. But besides conversation, and sometimes as an 
aid to it, parties and balls are given for the purposes of 
dancing, music, games (especially cards), and eating and 
drinking. Of the etiquette of these parties I shall speak 
elsewhere. I now content myself with a few hints on the 
accomplishments themselves which are displayed in them. 

"Thank you — aw — I do not dance," is now a very 
common reply from a well-dressed handsome man, who is 
leaning against the side of the door, to the anxious, heated 
hostess, who feels it incumbent on her to find a partner for 
poor Miss Wallflower. I say the reply is not only common, 
tut even regarded as rather a fine one to make. In short; 



" i don't dance." 



203 



men of the present day don't, won't, or can't dance ; and 
you can't make them do it, except by threatening to give 
them no supper. I really cannot discover the reason for 
this aversion to an innocent amusement, for the apparent 
purpose of enjoying which they have spent an hour and a 
half on their toilet, and half-a-crown on a hansom cabman. 
There is something, indeed, in the heat of a London ball- 
room in the middle of July, there is a great deal in the 
ridiculous smallness of the closets into which the ball-giver 
crowds two hundred people, with a cruel indifference only 
equalled by that of the black-hole of Calcutta, expect- 
ing them to enjoy themselves, when the ladies' dresses 
are crushed and torn, and the gentlemen, under the des- 
potism of theirs, are melting away almost as rapidly as the 
ices with which an occasional waiter has the heartlessness 
to insult them. Then, again, it is a great nuisance to be 
introduced to a succession of plain, uninteresting young 
women, of whose tastes, mode of life, &c, you have not 
the slightest conception : who may look gay, yet have 
never a thought beyond the curate and the parish, or 
appear to be serious, while they understand nothing but the 
opera and Lady So-and-so's ball — in fact, to be in perpetual 
risk of either shocking their prejudices, or plaguing them 
with subjects in which they can have no possible interest ; 
to take your chance whether they can dance at all, and to 
know that when you have lighted on a real charmer, 
perhaps the beauty of the room, she is only lent to you for 
that one dance, and when that is over, and you have 
salaamed away again, you and she must remain to one 
another as if you had never met ; to feel, in short, that you 
must destroy either your present comfort or future happi- 
ness, is certainly sufficiently trying to keep a man close to 
the side-posts of the doorway. But these are reasons which 
might keep him altogether from a ball-room, and if he has 
these and other objections to dancing, he certainly cannot 
be justified in coming to a place set apart for that sole 
purpose. 



204 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



But I suspect that there are other reasons, and that in 
most cases the individual can dance and does dance at times, 
but has now a vulgar desire to be distinguished from the 
rest of his sex present, and to appear indifferent to the 
pleasures of the evening. If this be his laudable desire, 
however, he might at least be consistent, and continue to 
cling to his door-post, like St. Sebastian to his tree, and 
reply throughout the evening : " Thank you, I don't take 
refreshments :" " Thank you, I can't eat supper :" " Thank 
you, I don't talk :" " Thank you, I don't drink cham- 
pagne," — for if a London ball-room be purgatory, what a 
demoniacal conflict does a London supper-room present ; if 
young ladies be bad for the heart, champagne is worse for 
the head. 

No, it is the will not the power to dance which is want- 
ing, and to refuse to do so, unless for a really good reason, 
is not the part of a well-bred man. To mar the pleasure 
of others is obviously bad manners, and though at the door- 
post you may not be in the way, you may be certain that 
there are some young ladies longing to dance, and expect- 
ing to be asked, and that the hostess is vexed and annoyed 
by seeing them fixed, like pictures, to the wall. It is there- 
fore the duty of every man who has no scruples about 
dancing, and purposes to appear at balls, to learn how to 
dance. 

In the present day the art is much simplified, and if you 
can walk through a quadrille, and perform a polka, waltz, 
or galop, you may often dance a whole evening through. 
Of course, if you can add to these the Lancers, Schottische, 
and Polka- Mazurka, you will have more variety, and can 
be more generally agreeable. But if your master or mistress 
(a man learns better from the former) has stuffed into 
your head some of the three hundred dances which he 
tells you exist, the best thing you can do is to forget them 
again. Whether right or wrong, the number of usual 
dances is limited, and unusual ones should be very sparingly 
introduced into a ball, for as few people know them,, their 



THE QUADRILLE. 



205 



dancing, on the one hand, becomes a mere display, and, on 
the other, interrupts the enjoyment of the majority. 

The quadrille is pronounced to be essentially a conversa- 
tional dance, but inasmuch as the figures are perpetually 
calling you away from your partner, the first necessity for 
dancing a quadrille is to be supplied with a fund of small 
talk, in which you can go from subject to subject like a bee 
from flower to flower. The next point is to carry yourself 
uprightly. Time was when — as in the days of the menuet 
de la cour — the carriage constituted the dance. This is 
still the case with the quadrille, in which even if ignorant 
of the figures, you may acquit yourself well by a calm grace- 
ful carriage. After all, the most important figure is the 
smile, and the feet may be left to their fate, if we know what 
to do with our hands ; of which I may observe that they 
should never be pocketed. 

The smile is essential. A dance is supposed to amuse, 
and nothing is more out of place in it than a gloomy scowl, 
unless it be an ill-tempered frown. The gaiety of a dance 
is more essential than the accuracy of its figures, and if you 
feel none yourself, you may at least look pleased by that of 
those around you. A defiant manner is equally obnoxious. 
An acquaintance of mine always gives me the impression, 
when he advances in Fete, that he is about to box the lady 
who comes to meet him. But the most objectionable of all 
is the supercilious manner. Dear me, if you really think 
you do your partner an honour in dancing with her, you 
should at least remember that your condescension is annulled 
by the manner in which you treat her. 

A lady — beautiful word ! — is a delicate creature, one who 
should be reverenced and delicately treated. It is therefore 
unpardonable to rush about in a quadrille, to catch hold of 
the lady s hand as if it were a door-handle, or to drag her 
furiously across the room, as if you were Bluebeard and she 
Fatima, with the mysterious closet opposite to you. This 
brusque violent style of dancing is unfortunately common, 
but immediately stamps a man. Though I would not have 



206 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



you wear a perpetual simper, you should certainly smile 
when you take a lady's hand, and the old custom of bowing 
in doing so, is one that we may regret ; for does she not 
confer an honour on us by the action ? To squeeze it, on 
the other hand, is a gross familiarity, for which you would 
deserve to be kicked out of the room. 

" Steps," as the chasser of the quadrille is called, belong 
to a past age, and even ladies are now content to walk 
through a quadrille. To be graceful, however, a lady 
should hold her skirt out a little. In France this is done 
with one hand, which I am inclined to think is more grace- 
ful than holding it with both. It is, however, necessary 
to keep time with the music, the great object being the 
general harmony. To preserve this, it is also advisable, 
where the quadrille, as is now generally the case, is danced 
by two long lines of couples down the room, that in Fete, 
and other figures, in which a gentleman and lady advance 
alone to meet one another, none but gentlemen should 
advance from the one side, and therefore none but ladies 
from the other. 

Dancing masters find it convenient to introduce new 
figures, and the fashion of La Trenise and the Grande Ronde 
is repeatedly changing. It is wise to know the last mode, 
but not to insist on dancing it. A quadrille cannot go on 
evenly if any confusion arises from the ignorance, obstinacy, 
or inattention of any one of the dancers. It is therefore 
useful to know every way in which a figure may be 
danced, and to take your cue from the others. It is amus- 
ing, however, to find how even such a trifle as a choice of 
figures in a quadrille can help to mark caste, and give 
a handle for supercilious sneers. Jones, the other day, was 
protesting that the Browns were " vulgar." " Why so 1 they 
are well bred." " Yes, so they are." " They are well-in- 
formed." " Certainly." " They are polite, speak good Eng- 
lish, dress quietly and well, are graceful and even elegant." 
" I grant you all that." " Then what fault can you find with 
them." " My dear fellow, they are people who gallop 



THE VALUE OF QUADRILLES. 



207 



round in the last figure of a quadrille," lie replied triumphantly. 
But to a certain extent Jones is right. Where a choice is 
given, the man of taste will always select for a quadrille 
(as it is a conversational dance) the quieter mode of per- 
forming a figure, and so the Browns, if perfect in other 
respects, at least were wanting in taste. There is one alter- 
ation lately introduced from France, which I sincerely trust 
will be universally accepted. The farce of that degrading 
little performance called " setting" — where you dance before 
your partner somewhat like Man Friday before Eobinson 
Crusoe, and then as if your feelings were overcome, seize her 
hands and whirl her round — has been finally abolished by a 
decree of Fashion, and thus more opportunity is given for 
conversation, and in a crowded room you have no occasion 
to crush yourself and partner between the couples on each 
side of you. 

I do not attempt to deny that the quadrille, as now 
walked, is ridiculous ; the figures, which might be graceful 
if performed in a lively manner, have entirely lost their 
spirit, and are become a burlesque of dancing ; but, at the 
same time, it is a most valuable dance. Old and young, 
stout and thin, good dancers and bad, lazy and active, 
stupid and clever, married and single, can all join in it, 
and have not only an 'excuse and opportunity for tete-ctrtete 
conversation, which is decidedly the easiest, but find en- 
couragement in the music, and in some cases convenient 
breaks in the necessity of dancing. A person of few ideas 
has time to collect them while the partner is performing, 
and one of many can bring them out with double effect. 
Lastly, if you wish to be polite or friendly to an acquaint- 
ance who dances atrociously, you can select a quadrille for 
him or her, as the case may be. Intense patriotism still 
induces some people to affirm that the English country- 
dance is far preferable to this importation from- France. 
These good creatures should inquire a little further. I 
think they would find that the country-dance (contre-danse) 
came from the same source at a somewhat earlier date. 



208 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



But, however this may be, a dance which tears rne so com- 
pletely away from the partner I have selected, ought iD 
nine cases out of ten to be hateful to me. 

Very different in object and principle are the so-called 
round dances, and there are great limitations as to those 
who should join in them. Here the intention is to 
enjoy a peculiar physical movement under peculiar condi- 
tions, and the conversation during the intervals of rest is 
only a secondary object. These dances demand activity and 
lightness, and should therefore be, as a rule, confined to the 
young. An old man sacrifices all his dignity in a polka, 
and an old woman is ridiculous in a waltz. Corpulency, 
too, is generally a great impediment, though some stout 
people prove to be the lightest dancers. 

The morality of round dances scarcely comes within my 
province. They certainly can be made very indelicate ; so 
can any dance, and the French cancan proves that the 
quadrille is no safer in this respect than the waltz. But 
it is a gross insult to our daughters and sisters to suppose 
them capable of any but the most innocent and purest en- 
joyment in the dance, while of our young men I will say, 
that to the pure all things are pure. Those who see harm 
in it are those in whose mind evil thoughts must have 
arisen. Honi soit qui mal y pense. Those who rail against 
dancing are perhaps not aware that they do but follow in 
the steps of the Romish Church. In many parts of the 
Continent, bishops who have never danced in their lives, and 
perhaps never even seen a dance, have laid a ban of excom- 
munication on waltzing. A story was me told in Normandy 
of the worthy Bishop of Bayeux, one of this number. A 
priest of his diocese petitioned him to put down round 
dances. " I know nothing about them," replied the prelate, 
" I have never even seen a waltz." Upon this the younger 
ecclesiastic attempted to explain what it was and wherein 
the danger lay, but the Bishop could not see it. " Will 
Monseigneur permit me to show him 1 " asked the priest. 
" Certainly. My chaplain here appears to understand the 



THE WALTZ. 



209 



subject ; let me see you two waltz." How the reverend 
gentlemen came to know so much about it does not appear, 
but they certainly danced a polka, a gallop, and a trois- 
temps waltz. " All these seem harmless enough." " Oh ! 
but Monseigneur has not seen the worst ;" and thereupon 
the two gentlemen proceeded to flounder through a valse d, 
deux-temps. They must have murdered it terribly, for they 
were not half round the room when his Lordship cried out, 
" Enough, enough, that is atrocious, and deserves excom- 
munication." Accordingly this waltz was forbidden, while 
the other dances were allowed. I was at a public ball at 
Caen soon after this occurrence, and was amused to find 
the trois-temps danced with a peculiar shuffle, by way of 
compromise between conscience and pleasure. 

There are people in this country whose logic is as good 
as that of the Bishop of Bayeux, but I confess my inability 
to understand it. If there is impropriety in round dances, 
there is the same in all. But to the waltz, which poets 
have praised and preachers denounced. The French, with 
all their love of dancing, waltz atrociously, the English but 
little better ; the Germans and Russians alone understand it- 
I could rave through three pages about the innocent enjoy- 
ment of a good waltz, its grace and beauty, but I will be 
practical instead, and give you a few hints on the subject. 

The position is the most important point. The lady and 
gentleman before starting should stand exactly opposite to 
one another, quite upright, and not, as is so common in 
England, painfully close to one another. If the man's hand 
be placed where it should be, at the centre of the lady's 
waist, and not all round it, he will have as firm a hold and 
not be obliged to stoop, or bend to his right. The lady's 
head should then be turned a little towards her left shoulder, 
and her partner's somewhat less towards his right, in order 
to preserve the proper balance. Nothing can be more 
atrocious than to see a lady lay her head on her partner's 
shoulder ; but, on the other hand, she will not dance well, 
if she turns it in the opposite direction. The lady again 
2 D 



210 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



should throw her head and shoulders a little back, and the 
man lean a very little forward. 

The position having been gained, the step is the next 
question. In Germany the rapidity of the waltz is very 
great, but it is rendered elegant by slackening the pace every 
now and then, and thus giving a crescendo and decrescendo 
time to the movement. The Russian men undertake to 
perform in waltzing the same feat as the Austrians in riding, 
and will dance round the room with a glass of champagne 
in the left hand without spilling a drop. This evenness in 
waltzing is certainly very graceful, but can only be attained 
by a long sliding step, which is little practised in England, 
where the rooms are small, and people, not understanding 
the real pleasure of dancing well, insist on dancing all at 
the same time. In Germany they are so alive to the 
necessity of ample space, that in large balls a rope is drawn 
across the room ; its two ends are held by the masters of 
the ceremonies pro tern., and as one couple stops and retires, 
another is allowed to pass under the rope and take its place. 
But then in Germany they dance for the dancing's sake. 
However this may be, an even motion is very desirable, 
and all the abominations which militate against it, such as 
hop-waltzes, the Schottische, and ridiculous Varsovienne, are 
justly put down in good society. The pace, again, should 
not be sufficiently rapid to endanger other couples. It is 
the gentleman's duty to steer, and in crowded rooms nothing 
is more trying. He must keep his eyes open and turn 
them in every direction, if he would not risk a collision, 
and the chance of a fall, or what is as bad, the infliction 
of a wound on his partner's arm. I have seen a lady's arm 
cut open in such a collision by the bracelet on that of 
another lady ; and the sight is by no means a pleasant one 
in a ball-room, to say nothing of a new dress covered in a 
moment with blood. 

The consequences of violent dancing may be really se- 
rious. Not only do delicate girls bring on thereby a violent 
palpitation of the heart, and their partners appear in a most 



FLAT-FOOT WALTZING. 



211 



disagreeable condition of solution, but dangerous falls ensue 
from it. I have known instances of a lady's head being 
laid open, and a gentleman's foot being broken in such a 
fall, resulting, poor fellow, in lameness for life. Nay, even 
death hovers among the giddy waltzers, and Victor Hugo 
has written a beautiful little poem on girls who have died 
of dancing, of which one verse as a moral : 

" Quels tristes lendemains laisse le bal folatre ! 

Adieu, parure, danse et rires enfantins ! 
Aux chansons succedait le toux opiniatre, 
Au plaisir rose et frais la fievre au teint bleuatre, 

Aux yeux brillants les yeux eteints." 

Be careful of the waltz, be sparing, lest it prove, in this 
land of consumption, to too many the true dance of death. 
Let us not mingle cypress with our roses. 

It is perhaps useless to recommend flat-foot waltzing in 
this country, where ladies allow themselves to be almost 
hugged by their partners, and where men think it necessary 
to lift a lady almost off the ground, but I am persuaded 
that if it were introduced, the outcry against the impro- 
priety of waltzing would soon cease. Nothing can be more 
delicate than the way in which a German holds his partner. 
It is impossible to dance on the flat foot unless the lady and 
gentleman are quite free of one another. His hand there- 
fore goes no further round her waist than to the hooks and 
eyes of her dress, hers, no higher than to his elbow. Thus 
danced the waltz is smooth, graceful, and delicate, and we 
could never in Germany complain of our daughter's languish- 
ing on a young man's shoulder. On the other hand, no- 
thing is more graceless and absurd than to see a man waltz- 
ing on the tips of his toes, lifting his partner off the ground, 
or twirling round and round with her like the figures on a 
street organ. The test of waltzing in time is to be able to 
stamp the time with the left foot. A good flat-foot waltzer 
can dance on one foot as well as on two, but I would not 
advise him to try it in public, lest like Mr. Rarey's horse on 



212 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



three legs, he should come to the ground in a luckless moment, 
The legs should be very little bent in dancing, the body still 
less so. I do not know whether it be worse to see a man 
sit down in a waltz, or to find him with his head poked 
forward over your young wife's shoulder, hot, red, wild, and 
in far too close proximity to the partner of your bosom, 
whom he makes literally the partner of his own. 

King Polka has been deposed after a reign of nearly 
twenty years. I cannot refrain from throwing up my cap. 
True, his rule was easy, and he was popular on that ac- 
count ; indeed, he has still his partisans in certain classes, 
but not in the best. For what a graceless, jogging, hugging, 
sleepy old creature he was ! Then, too, he was not even a 
legitimate sovereign. The good family of the Polkas in 
Hungary, Poland, &c, would not recognise this pretender 
of England and France, who is no more like them than that 
other pretender Mazurka, is like the original spirited, na- 
tional fling of the same name. It is curious to see how our 
D'Egvilles have ransacked Europe for national dances to be 
adapted to the drawing-room, and, indeed, there spoiled. 
The waltz is of German origin, but where it is still danced 
in Germany in the original manner (as for instance, among 
the peasants of the Tyrol), it is a very different dance. It 
is there very slow and graceful ; the feet are thrown out 
in a single long step, which Turveydrop, I presume, would 
call a jete. After a few turns, the partners waltz alone in 
the same step, the man keeping the time by striking together 
his iron-shod heels, until with a shout and clapping of hands 
he again clasps his partner and continues in the same slow 
measure with her. The very names of the dances bespeak 
their origin. The Sclavonic nations must have given us the 
Polka, Mazurka, Redowa, Gorlitza, and Eletezka, whatever 
that may be. The Varsovienne and Oracovienne are all 
that remain of Polish nationality. 

" Ye have the Pyrrhic dance as yet, 
Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone ?" 



THE POLKA, GALOP, ETC. 



213 



says Byron bitterly to the Greeks, and some future Russian 
agent may perhaps sing to the wearers of the kilt in the 
same strain : — 

" Ye have the Highland reel as yet, 
Where are your Highland chieftains gone ?" 

Then the Madrilaine has been imported from Spain, 
which retains the oriental Bolero, Fandango, and Cachucha. 
The last is of purely Eastern character, and might be 
danced by a Ndch girl before a Lucknow Prince. The 
Americans with more patriotism than ourselves have pre- 
served the only national English dances, the hornpipe and 
jig, and have about twenty varieties of the former, includ- 
ing a sailor's, college, gipsy's, and even bricklayer's and 
lamplighter's hornpipe. These American dances have names 
no less eccentric than their drinks. We should scarcely 
care to join in the " Devil's Dream," for instance, and the 
dance called "Jordan is a hard road" can hardly be a 
favourite out of Hebrew circles. " Money Musk " was once 
an English dance. When there was a quarrel between the 
county people and the rich tradesmen at the Bath balls, 
Beau Nash had some trouble to reconcile them, but he ap- 
propriately sealed his success by ordering the band to strike 
up "Money Musk." The "Lancers" are a revival after 
many long years, and perhaps we may soon have a drawing- 
room adaptation of the Morris-dance. 

The only advice therefore which it is necessary to give to 
those who wish to dance the polka may be summed up in 
two words, " don't." Not so with the galop. The remarks 
as to the position in waltzing apply to all round dances, and 
there is therefore little to add with regard to the galop, ex- 
cept that it is a great mistake to suppose it to be a rapid 
dance. It should be danced as slowly as possible. It will 
then be more graceful and less fatiguing. It is danced 
quite slowly in Germany and on the flat foot. The polka- 
mazurka is still much danced, and is certainly very grace- 
ful. The remarks on the quadrille apply equally to the 



214 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



lancers, which are great favourites, and threaten to take the 
place of the former. The schottische, hop-waltz, redowa, 
varsovienne, cellarius, and so forth, have had their day, and 
are no longer danced in good society. The only dance I re- 
gret is the German cotillon, which was introduced a few 
years ago, but not approved. English people made a romp 
of it, and English young ladies, an opportunity for marked 
flirtation ; besides which English chaperons, not so patient as 
the same class on the Continent, would not sit through it. 
Well I remember the long hours through which we used to 
keep it up in Germany, while mammas and aunts were 
dozing behind their fans, and how vexed we were when its 
varied figures, invented often on the spot, came to an end, 
and carriages were called for. 

The calm ease which marks the man of good taste, makes 
even the swiftest dances graceful and agreeable. Vehemence 
may be excused at an election, but not in a ball-room. I 
once asked a beautiful and very clever young lady how she, 
who seemed to pass her life with books, managed to dance 
so well. " I enjoy it," she replied ; " and when I dance 
I give my whole mind to it." And she was quite right. 
Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well ; and if 
it is not beneath your dignity to dance, it is not unworthy of 
your mind to give itself, for the time, wholly up to it. You 
will never enjoy dancing till you do it well ; and if you do 
not enjoy it, it is folly to dance. But in reality dancing, 
if it be a mere trifle, is one to which great minds have 
not been ashamed to stoop. Locke, for instance, has written 
on its utility, and speaks of it as manly, which was certainly 
not Michal's opinion, when she looked out of the window 
and saw her lord and master dancing and playing. Plato 
lecommended it, and Socrates learned the Athenian polka of 
the day, when quite an old gentleman, and liked it very 
much. Some one has even gone the length of calling it 
" the logic of the body and Addison defends himself for 
making it the subject of a disquisition. If I say much more 
I shall have to do the same as Addison, and will therefore 



MUSIC. 



215 



pass to some other accomplishments useful, if not necessary, 
in society. 

On the Continent almost every boy is taught to play the 
piano. A very false principle has, till lately, kept our men 
from all the softer portion of life ; manliness was identified 
with roughness, and every accomplishment which was 
suitable to a woman, was considered beneath the dignity of 
a man. In short, it is not fifty years ago since to hunt, 
shoot, and drink your bottle of port, formed the only ac- 
complishments necessary for male society, and refinement 
did not extend beyond an elegance in bowing, in taking 
snuff, and in gallantry to the ladies. Left to themselves, 
men were ashamed to be anything better than bears. 
Fortunately it is now agreed that manliness and refinement 
are not opposed to one another. 

I believe that there is a taste for music in every child 
born, and that if it disappears in after life, it is for want of 
cultivation. Was there ever yet a baby which could not 
be sung to sleep % However this may be, to play some one 
instrument is of more value to a man than at first sight 
appears. To the character it is a refiner. Music is the 
medicine of the soul ; it soothes the wrinkles of a hard 
life of business, and lifts us from thoughts of money, in- 
trigue, enterprises, anxieties, hatred, and what not, to a 
calmer, more heavenly frame of mind. To a man himself, 
therefore, the power to play is of use. He may not always 
have a sister, wife, or daughter, to sing and play to him ; 
he may not always be within reach of the opera and concert- 
rooms, and then, too, half the enjoyment of music is gone, 
when you cannot enjoy it as you list, and of what kind you 
need, gay or grave, as your fancy lies. It is an indulgence 
to a pure mind, and it is one of those few indulgences which 
are free from harm. 

But besides this, a knowledge of music is valuable to a 
man in the society both of his own and the other sex. It 
is a great recommendation among women, and vibrates on 
a chord of sympathy between the sexes, when possibly there 



216 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



is no other. Still more so where women are not, and their 
want is felt. The man who can play an air is a boon to 
the camp, the college, or the Inn of Court. Well do I 
remember how popular Jones was for his piano, and Smith 
for his cornet, at St. Boniface's. Yet Jones and Smith 
were very dull men in themselves, and kept very bad wine. 
What did we care 1 We did not want to drink with our 
mouths, when we could do so with our ears. But if instru- 
mental music recommend a man, still more the cultivation 
of the natural musical instrument. " He can tell a good 
story and sing a good song," is almost the best recommend- 
ation one bachelor can give of another in a social point of 
view, and if you can sing a good ballad, or take part in a 
duet, quartett, chorus, or what not, you are invaluable in 
an evening party. 

There are, however, a few points to be attended to in 
connexion with playing or singing in public. In the first 
place, as to a choice of instrument. The piano is always 
acceptable, but however good a man's touch, it must be 
remembered, it is not so agreeable in a room as a lady's. 
Every other instrument should be accompanied by the piano, 
so that unless you have some fair friend ready to play 
for you, it will be useless to take your instrument. But 
under the most fortunate circumstances, your choice is 
limited. The instrument must not be too loud or too harsh 
for the sensitive tympanum of your fair audience. No one 
would volunteer a solo on the drum, perhaps ; but men who 
play but little, will sometimes inflict the hauthois or cornet- 
ct-pistons on their unhappy listeners • these two instruments, 
and indeed every species of horn, can only be tolerated in a 
drawing-room if extremely well played, and therefore modu- 
lated. On the other hand, if you care for your appearance, 
you will scarcely introduce the violoncello. The fiddle is 
so common that people will not care for it, unless played 
with execution, and the flageolet is scarcely worth listening 
to. There remain the flute, and the guitar, which is a good 
accompaniment to the voice, but should not be played by a 



217 



stout or an elderly man. Concerts are so common now, 
and first-rate performers so easily heard, that more than 
common proficiency will be expected from you on any in- 
strument except the piano, and you should therefore never 
take your instrument with you unless particularly requested 
to do so by the inviter, nor play more than once unless 
pressed to do so by the lady of the house. 

If you have a tenor or alto voice, a good ear, and a 
knowledge of a few songs, you need never be afraid of 
singing in public. A barytone being commoner, requires 
more excellence to back it, and a bass should be prohibited, 
/ think, from solo exhibitions, unless very good. But be 
the voice what it may, if you cannot sing in tune, never 
attempt it. Others in the company will have better ears 
than yourself, and politely execrate you. Time is not so 
important, unless you join a duet, trio, or chorus. The 
choice of songs is quite as essential as the choice of an instru- 
ment. A man should not sing women's ditties, and should 
never yawl out the namby-pamby ballads beloved of young 
ladies. A really honest love-song, in which the words are 
as good as the music, becomes a tenor or barytone well — 
scarcely a basso. On the other hand, the too ferocious style 
should be avoided. Comic songs, as a general rule, are atro- 
cious. Their want of wit is not atoned for by the presence of 
slang, vulgarity, or even coarseness. They are usually written 
by men of inferior mind, often for the stage or public enter- 
tainments, and are purposely broad, in order to be under- 
stood by a mixed audience. On the other hand, if you 
have essentially a comic face and manner, and can sing a 
parody, or a more refined comic song with' character, you 
may attempt it in small parties. In men's society, of course, 
the comic song is the most popular. 

A man singing before ladies must remember their nerves, 
and modulate his voice. He must also bear in mind, that 
however well he sings, a lady's voice is more suited to a 
drawing-room, and unless pressed to do so, will content 
himself with one or at most two songs. But a man should 
2 E 



218 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



not allow himself to be pressed too much, nor affect diffi- 
dence like a young miss of seventeen. If he has not sung 
or played before, he should do so (if he can) without hesi- 
tation, and with an amiable willingness, being confident that 
the lady of the house desires to amuse her guests rather 
than to flatter him. 

In general society, the card-table in the present day is 
happily reserved for elderly people, but a young man may 
be sometimes called upon to make up a rubber, and if so he 
would mar the pleasure of others if he were not able to take 
a hand. At the same time it is generally understood that 
ladies and young men should not be asked to do so, unless 
absolutely necessary, and if a hostess opens a card-table, she 
should be able beforehand to select a sufficient and suitable 
number of players. It is always trying to see ladies play. 
It has been observed that women have only two passions, 
love and avarice. The latter ill becomes them, and yet so 
strong is it, that they can rarely conceal it at the card-table. 

Where a number of guests are willing to play, the selec- 
tion is made by drawing cards, and the highest drawers are 
excluded from the game. At whist the two lower and two 
higher drawers become partners respectively ; the lowest has 
the first deal. The trial of temper then ensues, and if card- 
playing has no other virtue, it may be commended as a 
test of temper and good-breeding. Lose without a murmur, 
win without triumph. Never insist too sharply on fines, 
and be ready to pay on the spot. If unable to do this, you 
should pay the next morning at the latest. It is always 
allowable to man or lady to say, " I do not play," and the 
words are understood to mean, that though able, you prefer 
not to do so. If a bad player, you will do well to keep 
away from the table ; you have a partner's interest to con- 
sult as well as your own. As a general rule in good society, 
it should be understood that one does not play for money, 
but with money. The skill rather than the result of the 
game must be the point of interest. 

In round games, which are patronized by people who 



MODERN LANGUAGES. 



219 



have not the accomplishments to supply their place, or 
the wit to do without them, the main fault to be avoided 
is eagerness. Of single games, you should know as many 
as possible. The finest of them is chess, which is worthy 
of any man, and a splendid mental exercise. Without 
aspiring to be a Morphy or a Staunton, you may by practice 
and thought become an excellent chess-player ; but the game 
is not a social one, and requires too much abstraction to be 
introduced in social gatherings. 

Perhaps the most useful accomplishment to one's-self 
is a knowledge of languages. Independent of the great 
superiority it gives you in travel, and the wide field of 
literature to which it introduces you, you are liable in really 
good society, especially in high London circles, to meet with 
foreigners having a very slight acquaintance with English. 
From them you may derive a vast amount of information, 
turn the slow current of your associations, and even be 
amused more than by any conversation with your own 
countrymen. The most patriotic John Bull now admits 
that foreigners understand better than ourselves the art of 
conversation, and though we may accuse them of frivolity 
among themselves, we must remember that in English 
society their first desire is to make themselves really appre- 
ciated. As a rule, too, they are more interested than we 
are in current history, and, whatever their prejudices or 
their ignorance; you will rarely meet with a Frenchman, 
Italian, or German, from whom you may not gather much 
curious information which will serve you elsewhere. An 
untravelled man is always at some disadvantage in good 
English society, where almost every one but himself will 
have crossed the channel, but if he has a good knowledge 
of continental language and literature, this disadvantage is 
materially diminished. 

An accomplishment much overlooked as an accomplish- 
ment, but one indispensable to good society, is to be able 
to talk on current literature and passing affairs. Every 
gentleman in the present day should subscribe to a circu- 



220 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



lating library, and take in a London newspaper. Besides 
taking in the latter, he should read it with judgment. He 
should he able to form and give an opinion independent of 
party prejudice on any question of common interest. What- 
ever his views, he should be able as a man of sense, and 
in order to be agreeable, to look on them independently, 
to support them reasonably, or abandon them gracefully. 
Politics, and even religion, can, I rejoice to say, be dis- 
cussed in the present day without inflammation and acer- 
bity, and, though the latter subject is better avoided in 
mixed circles, a thorough gentleman will be able to bow to 
another's opinion, and to put forward his own delicately 
and sensibly. 

There is one more accomplishment which is, fortunately, 
fast falling into disuse. The days are done when an 
awkward servant could anoint your head and best coat with 
a whole dishful of gravy, or an unskilled gentleman might 
be forced to bow to the lady on his right, with : "Madam, 
I'll trouble you for that goose in your lap." Bad carving 
used to spoil three good things on the part of the carver, 
good joints, good temper, and a good digestion. Even good 
carving marred conversation, and to short men it was a 
positive infliction, for I need scarcely say, that under no 
circumstances whatever could a man be permitted to stand 
up to carve. But because the carving of joints, game, &c, 
at a side-table, is a foreign custom lately introduced into 
this country, there are people still found patriotic enough 
to prefer carving at the dinner-table. " I like the good old 
English custom," says one • "I like to see a host dispensing 
his hospitality himself;" and in the country, where some 
hosts prefer meat to manners, it is still retained. But I 
may ask whether hospitality consists more in severing the 
wings from a chicken's body, than in setting all your guests 
at their ease, and at once leading off the conversation. 
Does it demand a distribution of good morsels rather than 
of good will ? The advocates of the " good old custom " 
may be reminded again, that in former days it was the 



CAEVING. 



221 



hostess, not the host, who dispensed the viands, her husband 
being occupied with a distribution of the wine, which is the 
reason why the lady sat at the head of the table ; but what 
is the value of an old custom universally disregarded, since 
no longer the hostess, but the guest who has the misfortune 
to take her in to dinner, is called upon to play the part of 
butcher 1 Can it be any more satisfactory to me to have 
my mutton sliced by a guest than by the butler in my host's 
service ] 

Another argument maliciously advanced, is contained in 
the sneer : " No, no, thank you, I like to see my dinner, 
and know what I am eating." But what a slur*hpon the 
hospitality of your host, to suppose that he would give you 
a cat for a hare, or a puppy for a rabbit ! We might as 
well insist that he should sup our port before we drink it, 
lest there should be poison in the cup — a custom, by the 
way, still retained in Bavaria, where the Tcellnerinn, or 
waitress, who brings you your quart of beer, invariably puts 
it to her mouth before she hands it to you. But there is a 
reason for that, since many a soldier in the Thirty Years' 
War was poisoned at a beer-garden. 

Carving is, however, still common at small parties and 
family dinners, and it will be a happy time when it is 
abandoned even there. I have seen many an unfortunate 
young man put to confusion when deputed to carve, by the 
anxious looks of the host or hostess, and have even heard 
such atrociously rude remarks as, " Thomas, bring that fowl 
to me ; Mr. Jones seems not to understand it ; " nay, I 
have seen people lose their temper so completely at having 
their pet dishes hacked by the unskilful, as to produce an 
awkward silence through the whole company. Then too, 
in family circles, more quarrels are to be traced to a blunt 
knife or a difficult dish, than even to milliners' bills, and I 
stayed for a short time in one house, whose master at last 
got into a habit of losing his temper over the joint, which 
he carved very ill at all times, and where, in consequence, 
dinner was more dreaded than the pillory. Indeed, as great 



222 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



results may often be traced to the most trifling causes, 
I am convinced that half the domestic tyranny of the 
British paterfamilias, and much of the bickering and irrita- 
tion which deprive home of its charms, may be traced to no 
greater a cause than the cutting up of a. joint. .. . The larger 
the family, the greater the misery of the carver, who has 
scarcely helped them all round, before the first receiver has 
done and is ready for a second helping. When at last the 
hungry father or elder brother can secure a mouthful, he 
must hurry over it, at the risk of dyspepsia, in order not to 
keep the others waiting. 

But w^l are a nation of conservatives, and a custom which 
descended from the days when a knight would stick his 
dagger into a leg of mutton, which he held by the knuckle- 
bone (hence the frill of white paper still stuck round it, 
to slop in the gravy and look disgusting before the joint is 
removed), and carve him a good thick slice without more 
ceremony, will not soon be got rid of, however great a 
nuisance. It is therefore necessary, if you would avoid 
irritation, black looks, and even rude speeches, to know how 
to carve at a friend's table, whatever you may do at your 
own. When thus situated, the following hints will be 
found useful. 

HINTS ON CARVING AND HELPING. 

1. Soup is helped with a ladle. Take care that the 
servant holds the plate close to the tureen, and distribute 
one ladleful to each person. - 

2. Fish is cut with a large flat silver knife or fish-slice, 
never with a common one. Of small fish, you send one to 
eack person. All the larger flat fish, such as turbot, John 
Dorey, brills, &c, must be first cut from head to tail down 
the middle, and then in portions from this cut to the fin, 
which being considered the best part, is helped with the 
rest. Fried soles, on the other hand, are simply cut across, 
dividing the bone. The shoulder is the best part, and 



HINTS ON CARVING, 



223 



should be first helped. Salmon, being laid on the side, is 
cut down the middle of the upper side, and then across 
from the back to the belly. A boiled mackerel serves for 
four people. The fish-knife is passed from tail to head 
under the upper side, which is then divided into two. Cod 
is cut crossways, and a small piece of the sound sent with 
each helping. 

3. Joints are helped with a steel fork, of which, if you 
value your fingers, you will take care that the guard is 
raised, and a carving knife, which for the sake of your 
neighbour's teeth, if you do not care for your own, you 
will never yourself sharpen. Let us premise that the 
butcher and cook must assist the carver, and that an ill-cut 
or ill-jointed joint augments terribly the torture of the 
dispenser. It must also be premised that there are more 
ways than one of cutting the same joint, that sometimes 
one, sometimes another is preferred, and that one way will 
often be the more economical, another the more elegant. 
Happy age when the butler shall have the responsibility of 
pleasing both the master and mistress of the house, who 
invariably differ when there is an alternative ! 

The roast beef of Old England, on which our glory is 
said to fatten and our pluck to thrive, appears on well-kept 
tables in two forms only. The sirloin has an upper and 
an under cut, about which tastes differ. It is therefore 
usual to begin with the upper or thicker side. The joint 
must lie with its chine-bone towards the left, and its flap 
to the right of the carver. It must be held steady by 
inserting the fork near the flat-bone. (It may here be 
remarked, that in all carving the fork should never be left 
sticking in the meat, but withdrawn with the knife ; nor 
should it ever be stuck in perpendicularly and grasped with 
the whole hand.) One long deep cut must then be made 
across the joint close to the chine-bone. The outside is 
next sliced off from the chine-bone to the flap, and you 
then proceed to cut the meat in very thin slices in the 
same direction. A slice of the fat on the flap must be 



224 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



given with each helping. If the under cut is asked for, 
you must carefully turn the joint so as not to splash the 
gravy — another of the fearful responsibilities of carving — 
and then cut the meat across in thick slices. A round of 
beef is easily carved till you come to the skewers, and 
then agony commences ; and what with the impossibility of 
drawing them out with the hand, the difficulty of doing so 
with the fork, and the quivering looseness of the joint 
when the arrow is at last extracted from its wretched flesh, 
a round with a round of beef is a more trying combat, then 
successive rounds with the cook who skewered, the butler 
who served, and the host who compelled you to carve it. 
However let us hope for the best ; there is good in all, 
even skewers ; and let us, inserting our fork firmly into the 
enemy's side, cut his brown top off with a horizontal slice 
of our long sharp steel, the longer and sharper the better 
for this joint, and proceed to torture him by making a 
succession of very thin slices, of which one is enough for 
any guest, except an alderman. 

Boiled beef is more favoured at dining-houses in the 
City than at company-dinners at the West End. The side 
is cut in very thin slices, which should be as broad and as 
long as the joint itself, if you can cut them so. 

Mutton appears generally in three forms. The saddle is 
the best joint, and is best cut in very thin slices close to 
the back-bone ; or you may slice it horizontally from the 
tail to the other end ; or again slanting from the back-bone 
towards the fat, so that each slice shall carry its own end of 
fat. A shoulder of mutton must lie with the knuckle 
towards your right, and the blade-bone towards your left. 
In the middle of the edge of the part farthest from you 
place the fork, and there give one sharp dexterous cut from 
the edge to the bone. The meat then flies open, and you 
proceed to cut rather thick slices on each side of the open- 
ing till you can cut no more. You may then cut three or 
four slices from the centre-bone to the end, and if there are 
more mouths to be filled, of which your own, of course, 



HINTS ON CAHVING. 



225 



will *>e one, you must turn the joint over and slice the 
under side. This same shoulder of mutton is a disgrace to 
a sheep, for do what you will, you can never get enough off 
it. Much more satisfactory is the animal's leg. In the 
bosom of your own family, when funds are low and 
butcher's bills high, the best plan is to begin at the 
knuckle, cutting across in thick slices, and so on to the 
top. But if your wife puts up with a knuckle slice, your 
guests will not, and in company you must therefore begin 
in the middle. The knuckle should point towards your 
left. You then cut from the side farther from you towards 
yourself, thus opening the joint in the middle, and proceed 
to take thin slices on the right, which some people prefer, 
and thick slices towards the knuckle. The little tuft of 
fat near the thick end is a delicacy, and must be distributed 
as such. 

The lamb, disturbed in its gambols, furnishes our ruth- 
less appetites with two quarters (a fore and a hind), a 
saddle, which is carved like a saddle of its elder relative, 
mutton, and a loin which must be divided into chops. The 
fore quarter consists of a shoulder, a breast, and the ribs, 
which are served without separation, and the carver has 
therefore the pleasure of turning butcher for the time. 
This he does by placing the knife under the shoulder, 
drawing it horizontally, and so removing the shoulder 
altogether. This limb is generally placed on a separate 
dish, and carved like a shoulder of mutton. You have 
then to cut off the breast, and finally separate the ribs. 
The hind-quarter consists of a leg and a loin, the former 
being cut across, the latter lengthways. 

Veal gives us a head, breast, and fillet. If the first of 
these appears in its normal form, not having been boned 
and rolled, you must cut it down the centre in rather thin 
slices on each side. The meat round the eye, a delicacy, 
may be scooped out. A small piece of the palate and the 
" accompanying sweetbread must be sent on each plate. A 
fillet of veal is simply cut in slices, which must not be too 

2 F 



226 



A CC0MPL1SHMENTS. 



thin ; and the stuffing in the centre should be helped with a 
spoon. In a breast of veal the ribs should be first separated 
from the brisket, after which either or both maybe sent round. 

Roast pork is not often seen on good tables. When it 
appears it is as easy to carve as a leg of mutton, but the 
slices should be thicker and not so large. Two very small 
slices are enough for an epicure ; let those who like it eat 
more. The best part of roast pork is the crackling, if it 
has been roasted with buttered paper over it. Boiled pork, 
like boiled mutton, is only to be tolerated for the sake of 
its proper accompaniments, but the taste for pease-pudding, 
unlike that for caper-sauce, can only be acquired by a long 
residence in this country. Both these joints are carved 
like a roasted leg of mutton. The waiter at a hotel, who, 
when a Hebrew gentleman ordered " pork-chops," con- 
siderately and delicately returned with poached eggs, was 
a man of taste as well as of breeding, and knew that it 
takes much to make pork palatable. Not so, however, 
with ham and bacon, which are meats to warm the cockles 
of the heart, even of a Pharisee of the Pharisees, and while 
to enjoy the former one would always be rich, one could be 
content to be poor for the sake of the latter. Alas ! 
because bacon is a poor man's luxury, the rich, or their 
vulgar cooks, will never admit it, or very rarely. It must 
be cut as thin as a lady's veil, and in delicate long strips 
rather than slices. A ham may be cut in three ways, by 
beginning either at the knuckle, which must be turned 
towards your left, and slicing in a slanting direction ; or 
at the thick end, which is then turned to your left ; or, in 
the commonest manner, like a leg of mutton, across the 
centre. In any case it must be cut in very thin, delicate 
slices, such as the waiters of now defunct Vauxhall won 
their fame for, and such as, to this day, few people but 
the owner of a London cook-shop can achieve. One small 
slice is enough as an accompaniment to a helping of fowl 
or veal. 

Last of the joints comes their best, the haunch of Venison* 



HINTS ON CARVING. 



227 



To carve this the knuckle should be turned towards your 
right hand, and above it a rapid cross cut made. A cut 
lengthways from the other end to the cross cut, should divide 
the meat about the middle, and slices of moderate thickness 
are then to be taken on each side of the long cut ; those 
on the left are the best, having the most fat about them. 

You are now wishing that edible animals grew like pil- 
lows, to be sliced up like roly-poly puddings, and would 
dispense for ever with the inconvenience of limbs, legs, 
shoulders, saddles, haunches, loins, sirloins, breasts, ribs, 
fore-quarters and hind-quarters. But you cannot have every- 
thing. If meat grew on trees it would not be worth eat- 
ing ; it is the exercise of the animal which makes it tender 
and savoury ; while, on the other hand, the best meat is 
generally that nearest to the bone. The only riddle which 
Sir Edward Lytton was ever guilty of perpetrating was 
this : " Why is a cat's taste better than a dog's 1 Because 
the dog's is bon (bone), but the cat's is mieux (mew)." 
With all deference to Sir Edward, I must give my opinion 
that the dog has the best taste of all animals, which he 
displays in his preference for bones, well knowing that the 
meat nearest to them is always the most savoury. 

However this may be, you have not done yet ; indeed, 
you have the worst to come, and there is fresh torture for 
the carver in — 

4. Animals served whole. You may perhaps master a 
Rabbit, because he may be treated like Damien, who was 
broken on the wheel, by removing the legs and shoulders 
with a sharp-pointed knife, and then breaking his back in 
three or four pieces by pressing the knife across it and push- 
ing the body up against it with the fork ; but when you come 
to that long, thin, dark, and scraggy animal, which with 
its crisp delicate ears sticking up, and the large sockets 
where its eyes once were, looks like roasted bottle-imp, 
rather than roasted Hare, what are you to do, unless the 
cook has been skilful enough to bone it for you ] You must 
first take care that your knife has a sharp strong point to 



228 



ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



it, and therewith, having the head of the hare towards your 
left, you will cut off the legs, — to wit, the hind legs, for 
carving and natural history differ in this matter, the latter 
asserting that the hare is a quadruped, the former that it 
has only two legs, and two " wings." You will then cut two 
long thin slices off each side of the back ; then take off the 
" wings" or shoulders ; then break the back into four pieces 
with the aid of the fork ; then cut off the ears, and lastly, 
turning the head towards you with the under side upper- 
most, insert the point of the knife exactly in the centre of 
the palate, and drawing it to the nose, thus divide it into 
two parts. If you do all this without splashing the gravy, 
you may take your degree in carving. But to help a hare 
is more diplomatic still than to carve it. The difficulty is 
to find enough for everybody who wants it. The best parts 
are the slices from the back, the head and ears. Never, 
however, send head or ears to a lady. There is a good reason 
for this, which I won't tell you. But if there is a minister 
in office at table, and you want to ask him for a place, or 
there is a father whose daughter's hand you aspire to, or an 
uncle who may possibly leave you a legacy, it is for him 
that you reserve half the face, and one if not both ears. If 
he be at all a gourmet, you will get his ear by sending him 
puss's, and the delicate brain of the animal will fully com- 
pensate for a want of it in your own head. 

A fowl, if not in its premiere jeunesse, is more irritating 
still than a hare, because you feel that when you have done 
your best, the flesh is not worth eating, except at supper. 
There are two ways of beginning. Either take the leg, 
wing, and part of breast off with one cut, after having laid 
the bird on its side ; or, allowing it to remain on its back, 
with the breast and wings towards you, and the legs away 
from you, insert the knife in the side of the breast above the 
leg, and bring it down to the joint of the wing, which is 
thus removed with a slice of the breast. The liver wing, 
which lies to your right, is the best, and should be taken off 
first. This done, insert the knife just at the turn of the 



HINTS ON CARVING. 



229 



breast, bring it down, and you have the merry-thought. 
The meat of the breast is then easily sliced off, the legs 
having been turned back with the fork. The side-bones 
come off next, in a moment, if you insert the knife or fork 
in the right place, viz., under the angular joint, and turn 
them out. The back is then broken by lifting it with the 
fork against the pressure of the knife, and lastly, the sides 
are removed. The wing, breast, and merry-thought are the 
best pieces ; the legs and sides are insulting. The great 
point in carving a fowl is to do it quickly, and with the 
fork as much, if not more than, the knife. 

A partridge is carved like a fowl, but the legs being 
joined, are simply turned back with the knife before the 
operation commences. A pheasant is carved like a fowl. 
Pigeons are not carved at all, but cut in two down the 
middle ; the eater kindly saving the carver any further 
trouble. Snipe is treated in the same way, and smaller 
birds are always sent round one to each person. 

Of a goose or a turkey we are told it is " vulgar" to cut 
more than the breast, but there can be no vulgarity in 
making a good dinner, and in the family circle you will be 
obliged to apply to the wings and legs. However, for com- 
pany, slices of the breast suffice. The same thing is said of 
the wild-duck, that best of birds ; but we did not think so 
at Oxford, where we never left anything more than their 
carcases. The most productive bird is the Scotch and Swe- 
dish capercailzie. I have known one satisfy fourteen large 
appetites one day, three heavy eaters the second, and what 
with hashing, grilling, devilling, and picking, last the original 
purchaser a whole week for breakfast afterwards. It might 
perhaps be " vulgar" to carve such a bird as that ; little 
less so than offering a lady a leg of ostrich. 



CHAPTER VL 



FEMININE ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 

An English lady without her piano, or her pencil, or her 
fancy work, or her favourite French authors and German 
poets, is an object of wonder, and perhaps of pity. Music, 
the cultivation of which was, at one time, severely censured 
as being carried to excess, has now become a national want. 
Painting, and even modelling, are not only pursued in the 
quiet of home, they furnish subjects for an amateur exhibi- 
tion. ]STo woman can be wholly fitted as a member of 
society, unless she can dance well ; and to work neatly and 
skilfully at fancy work, is one of the attributes of good 
female society. 

We are not, we English, a nation of talkers ; naturally, 
our talent is for silence. The few who distinguished them- 
selves in conversational powers have died out among us, and 
their places will never, we have every reason to believe, be 
filled up. 

" The seat is vacant — whereon Conversation 
Sharpe gave forth such studied bon-mots" 

or culled from the treasures of his vast memory the tit-bits 
of old authors. Lady Morgan, who, as she " circulated" 
through a party, to use her own expression, delighted both 
wise and simple, by her ever ready flow of words, and rich- 
ness of anecdote and repartee, is gone, and her throne is 
vacant. 

The salon, which she collected around her, was, in its 
230 



MUSIC. 



231 



capacity of passing hours in talking, more French than Eng- 
lish ; she its centre. We shall neTer see the like again ; 
the world is too large, and we are too rich. Eloquence, 
even, went out with metal buttons and white waistcoats : the 
House of Commons is only bored by it now ; the Lords are 
proud and thankful to say they never encouraged it. Elo- 
quence, which is to conversation what the garden flower is to 
the wild flower, the hot-house grape to the poor sour thing 
that grows on the cottage walls, — eloquence, which is but 
condensed conversation, with all the essence of many minds 
in one, is regarded in these practical days only as an inter- 
ruption. 

It therefore becomes more and more essential that there 
should be some talent to supply the want of good conversa- 
tion. And, for that end, there is nothing like music. 

Music is, I repeat, the substitute, and the only one, for 
conversational powers. It has its merits in that light. 
Conversation sometimes aggravates temper : music soothes it. 
Conversation challenges reply : music gives no answers. Con- 
versation is the rock of peril to the impudent : they can 
scarcely, in playing or singing, commit an indiscretion. In 
talking, again, one may lose a friend, or even make an enemy. 
Music is, therefore, an excellent source of amusement for 
many occasions, and is become almost indispensable to those 
who have frequently parties to receive. A lively waltz, or 
a soft movement, carefully played, even without that great 
execution which compels listening, are often aids to con- 
versation : it flows the more easily from that slight and 
agreeable interruption. It has, indeed, still greater advan- 
tages : this world of ours has its work and its troubles ; a 
parent or husband may leave home from either or from 
both, to find a solace in music, which changes the current 
of his ideas. A brother may be almost made domestic by 
the cheerful notes, which he finds pass the evening almost 
as rapidly as the club, or Jullien's, or the theatre. Few 
persons are wholly devoid of a capacity for enjoying music^ 
and even, if not gifted with any great natural taste, a love 



232 



FEMININE ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



of the art may almost bp engrafted on the nature by early 
associations. And those associations, too, have their value. 
The air that brings back home-born thoughts, brings back 
in some degree the absent, the kind, the forbearing, the 
loving, the honoured. 

The piano still keeps its pre-eminence as the instrument 
best fitted for society. The harp, it is to be regretted, has 
for some years ceased to be fashionable ; perhaps the greater 
attention, in modern times, to physical education has 
banished the harp from the school-room. There is every risk 
of the practising on this instrument producing curvature of 
the spine ■ whereas the piano, from exercising both hands 
at a time, and from the straight posture it requires, is use- 
ful to those disposed to such curvatures. Duets on the 
harp and piano are, nevertheless, very delightful ; and they 
used to produce a good effect in a large room, when two 
sisters, or a professional lady and her young pupil, a daugh- 
ter of the house, opened the evening's amusement with one 
of those exquisite Italian airs, set by Bochsa or Chatterton. 
Simple melodies, sung to the harp, are still very effective 
in society from their variety. A harp requires a large 
room ; it should be played with feeling and grace, or it 
becomes very unpleasant, like the jingling of a hired band. 
It requires stout nerves, certainly, for the display necessary 
to execute an air on the harp, perched on a high stool, 
and forming a pleasing object, as well as being the vehicle 
of sweet sounds to the whole company. 

The guitar makes a graceful variety ; but is more appro- 
priate to a man's than to a woman's playing. It is mono- 
tonous, and soon fatigues the attention ; but, being easily 
portable, is often a resource in places and on occasions 
where a piano cannot be had. 

The same may be said of the zitter, one of the sweetest 
and most touching of string instruments ; but still, except 
for the occasional playing of Tyrolean minstrels, unknown 
in this country. It is of Bavarian origin, and is the oldest 
instrument known. Its plaintive and appealing sounds are 



MUSICAL INSTEUMENTS. 



233 



heard in Alpine chalets, or by the forester's fireside, as well 
as in the courtly revels of the inhabitants of Vienna, Inn- 
sprack, and Munich. It is exquisite as an accompaniment of 
the voice ; it is cheap and portable. A good zitter may be 
obtained for thirty shillings or two pounds. It is flat, and 
takes up little room, and should be placed horizontally on a 
table, without a cover. It requires, however, time and much 
practice to bring out those thrilling tones, at once so touch- 
ing and so peculiar. The most eminent professors in Ger- 
many speak highly of the powers of this small instrument, 
and say that it produces notes nearer to those of the human 
voice than any other. Yet it is not calculated for large 
concerts : we English must have noise and show. The 
zitter is an instrument for the houdoir, for lovers in a 
bower, for the poet in his turret, for the devotee to all 
that is soft, romantic, and unsophisticated. 

It seems scarcely needful to point to the violin and 
violoncello as instruments unsuitable to young ladies ; yet 
there have been women who have successfully cultivated 
both, to the great credit of their perseverance, and the 
great detriment of their feminine attractions. The concer- 
tina is, however, a beautiful and not inappropriate instru- 
ment, though I confess the inelegance of the attitude re- 
quired much lessens the sentiment inspired by the beautiful 
tones of the concertina. 

Nothing requires greater judgment, if not some experi- 
ence of society, than the selection of pieces to play in com- 
pany. " Oh ! how my head ached last night !" cries an 
old lady ; " we had a piece six pages long ! " Some 
ladies sit down (as it seems) with an intention of " giving 
it rein" for their hearers. Through passage after passage, 
volleys of black notes are made to speak, and, as page after 
page is turned over by a zealous friend, the young musician 
labours at it, and does herself justice, and her hearers a 
wrong : for a long piece is as bad as a long story, and 
neither are fitted for society. A short, perhaps brilliant, 
thoroughly well-learned air or movement by some good 
2 G 



234 



FEMININE ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



master, is the best response to the often put question, 
" Will you play something 1 " The loud, thumping style 
should be avoided : if possible, the piece should not be 
quite common and hackneyed ; not what " every one" plays. 
It should not be too mournful, nor too rapid. On sitting 
down to the piano, it is very offensive to hear a young lady 
find fault with the instrument, or complain that it is out of 
tune — a proof either that her temper is out of tune, or that 
she wishes to impress on you the superiority of her ear, 
which detects the defect to yours, which has stupidly over- 
looked it. All self-assertion, be it about music, or singing, 
or dancing, or anything, is unpleasant, and always seen 
through. There is a certain art, too, in sitting at the 
piano : all movements of the body should be avoided : 
well-bred people play without them, and they are unplea- 
sant to those sitting behind. Be ready also to quit* the 
instrument after finishing : in some cases, when once seated, 
ladies seem to be glued to the piano, and however fascinat- 
ing may be their efforts, it is bad policy to wear your 
audience out. Then another hint to the amateur musician : 
be lenient, at all events, and encouraging, if you can, to 
others. There is no need to flatter ; but great reason, 
especially to those who play well, to be amiable on this, as 
on other points. A little kindliness, a polite attention to 
the feelings of others, wins many a friend ; for we are 
governed by the trifles of life. 

Almost every well-educated lady can play a little ; but 
that is not the case in respect to vocal music. Whether it 
be owing to English climate, or English constitution, there 
is no saying ; but there is nothing more rare than a good 
voice. It may, however, provided the ear be good, be 
almost acquired ; but then the best instruction must be 
obtained ; a dozen good lessons, taken not too soon, but 
whenever the voice is formed, and the young lady plays well, 
are far more beneficial than a long course of inferior teach- 
ing. It is important that a young lady should not begin 
to sing in society too soon ; it is objectionable to hear a 



SINGING. 



235 



learner, whose performance speaks of the school-room ; it 
is far worse, however, to be condemned to listen to a voice 
that is passed, of which the best notes are cracked or feeble ; 
and there is something absurd in hearing a stout matron — 

" A mother with her daughters or her nieces, 
Looking like a guinea, with her seven shilling pieces," 

as Byron impertinently has it — singing with bygone em- 
phasis about love ; or a thin spinster, of forty or more, 
holding forth in such songs as "I'll watch for thee," or, 
" Don't forget me." Instrumental music is appropriate to 
any age, but after forty the voice loses the delicious fresh- 
ness of youth, the style is no longer that of the day, and 
even the finest amateur vocal performers have lost some- 
thing, we scarcely know what, but something we miss 
painfully. 

"When asked to sing, if you do not intend to do so, refuse 
so decidedly that you cannot be compelled ; but the more 
decided the refusal, the gentler should the manner be. 
There is a style of saying " No," that never offends. You 
are asked as a compliment ; as a compliment receive the 
entreaty. If you intend to sing, accept at once ; do not 
hurry up to the piano, as if glad of an opportunity of 
showing off, but go gently ; if by request you have brought 
your music, and it should never be brought to those who 
know that you sing without request, leave it down stairs ; 
it can be sent for ; but, since all pauses in society are to 
be avoided, if you can sing without notes it is as well ; at 
the same time, never attempt to do so unless sure of your- 
self. A half forgotten or imperfect song is irritating. 
Something light and brilliant is best for a commencement, 
or a little air not too well known — German, perhaps. For 
the sake of all the Muses, do not attempt a long Italian 
bravura of Verdi or Donizetti, that, perhaps, half the 
company have heard Garcia or Piccolomini sing the week 
before, you must murder it to ears so artistic as theirs. 
Or if you are singing to a homely audience, the simplest 



236 



FEMININE ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



song will please them better. The difference between a 
professional and an amateur singer should always be kept 
in view. The one is constrained by interest to astonish ; 
the other has no other inducement than to charm. The 
one is purchased, the other is a voluntary effort to pass 
away time, and to do justice to the composition of some of 
the popular masters of the day. 

The form and movements of the body must be habitually 
controlled in singing. In nine cases out of ten they spoil 
the effect of the voice. Some ladies bend from side to side, 
cast up their eyes, or fix them, with a rapt expression, on 
the wax-lights above them. Others make alarming faces, 
protrude the under jaw, or what is worse, assume an affect- 
ed smile. A good master suffers none of these defects to 
creep in. He regulates the mouth, which should be as 
little drawn as possible ; open it must be, but should ap- 
pear to have an inclination to smile, without the absolute 
smile. A great deal depends on the right mode of bring- 
ing out the voice. I confess it is a great sacrifice to 
see one's friends look frightful, even when giving out the 
most delicious sounds ; nor is it essential. In the choice 
of songs, variety is to be adopted. German music pleases, 
generally ; but, let no one not conversant with the right 
pronunciation of any foreign language, sing in it ; there 
is nothing so unpleasant as to hear broad French, mincing 
German, or lisping Italian. Even in English, a good 
accent is the most essential thing possible ; and, also, 
a good articulation. A simple song, sung without great 
powers of voice, but well articulated, delights, because it 
touches the understanding to which it appeals, and gratifies 
the ear which approves the modest and careful effort of 
art. Witness the extreme pleasure, amounting to enthu- 
siasm, afforded by the singing of the poet Moore. He had 
no compass of voice ; what he had was musical, but not 
eminently so ; but his singing captivated from the clearness 
with which every word was uttered ; the way in which 
every word told ; the easy, natural manner of the poet at 



WORKING. 



237 



the piano. On one occasion, Mrs. Billington being in one 
room, and Moore in another, of some great London house, 
crowds nocked around the poet, whose touching tones even 
drew them from the florid singing of the nightingale of her 
day, The same effect was produced by the singing of the 
late Mrs. Lockhart, the daughter of Sir Walter Scott, to 
the harp. She generally sang her father's poetry, set to 
music. Her taste, her feeling, and truth of expression, 
riveted the attention, though her voice had little power. 
The French excel in this species of intellectual singing, if 
one may use such a word, but theirs is chiefly professional. 
Who can ever forget Madame Jenny Denner's " Ma tante," 
or Levassor's "Vie de campagne 1" Yet neither had 
the average amount of vocal powers of a village chorister. 

After finishing one song, a lady should rise from the 
piano, even if she be brought back again and again. Some 
ladies are so aware what great injustice they do themselves 
by being induced to sing too much, that they make a rule 
of only singing two songs at a party ; but all set rules in 
society are bad. Nothing, however, can be worse than to 
go on from song to song, till admiration, and even patience 
are exhausted, and politeness is driven to her wits' end to 
be civil. Of course, it is almost needless to say that sacred 
songs should be avoided in parties. I doubt whether any 
of the deeper feelings should be paraded on light occasions, 
and if songs truly mournful are not better reserved for 
small reunions of the real lovers of deep pathos in music. 

All accomplishments have the one great merit of giving 
a lady something to do ; something to preserve her from 
ennui ; to console her in seclusion ; to arouse her in grief ; 
to compose her to occupation in joy. And none answers 
this purpose much better than fancy work, or even plain 
work. The former can often be brought advantageously 
into the rear of other pursuits — as a reserve. The latter 
cannot well be carried into society, except as a charity. 
The Germans do this gracefully. At some of their courts 
the great set the example. During Lent, at Munich, they 



238 



FEMININE ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 



have working parties. The queen made a baby's shirt, 
one evening, when one of these reunions was held in the 
apartments of her grande maitresse. The king, meantime, 
was pulling lint for the hospitals. Every lady of the court 
had some useful article before her • warm shawls made 
with the crochet-needle ; stockings knitted ; dresses, chiefly 
for children, from their being small. Such are the labours 
that employ on certain evenings the court and nobility of 
a nation whose aristocracy is among the most ancient and 
still the richest in Europe. And conversation went round 
cheerfully. Little tables were set about, and the assem- 
blage was broken up into parties, each table holding a lady 
or two, with a gentleman near her. A terrible waste of 
time in small parties would, indeed, be avoided, if some sort 
of work could be introduced ; and, if young ladies were not 
condemned to be idle for several hours, they would look 
better, and be happier, more amiable, and less fatigued than 
they often are at what is facetiously termed a " friendly 
party." Not that it is recommended to take into a party 
your husband's stockings to mend, or dear Charles's shirts, 
over which he was naturally so irritable at the absence of 
buttons, or Louisa's pinafores to run strings into ; let the 
work have the characteristics of recreation combined with 
utility, and the most scrupulous cannot be offended. Such 
is indeed the spirit of the day ; for we are a more sensible 
people than our grandsires were. 

Sketching and archery stand first among out-door amuse- 
ments. They are healthy, elegant, and appropriate to the 
feminine character ; while — first thought of mammas ! — 
they assemble rather than exclude the younger members of 
the other sex. 



CHAPTER VII. 



MANNEE, CAEEIAGE, AND HABITS, 

Teue politeness comes from the heart, and this being 
good, the rest will soon follow. But, as Chesterfield says, 
" good sense and good nature suggest civility in general ; 
but in good breeding there are a thousand little delicacies, 
which are established only by custom." That which mili- 
tates most against good breeding is an indifference to or 
want of consideration for the feelings of others ; and what 
does this amount to but a bad heart 1 A courtier may hate 
me with civility, and a brigand rob me politely. Is there 
not some good in the heart of both these men 1 Have 
they not a great consideration for my feelings 1 They 
cannot, they would tell me, help what they do ; I stand in 
this one's way, and he must and does hate me ; I have a 
purse and the other is a robber, he must and will take it ; 
but both of them, compelled to treat me so ill, do it with 
a grace that removes half the annoyance of it. The cour- 
tier conceals his hatred, and what therefore do I care for 
it ? I do not even know of its existence, and a passion 
which we never discover cannot affect us. Then, too, if 
the highwayman politely and delicately " invites" me to 
give up those few paltry bank-notes, assuring me it is his 
" profession," that he laments the necessity, and that if I 
show no fight, no violence will be used, I have at least the 
comfort of being saved from a fright, of being allowed free 
speech, of being given the option to fight or yield, so that 
when I come to think how much an agreeable manner may 
239 



240 MANNER, CARRIAGE, AND HABITS. 

do to console and conciliate, I don't know whether I could 
accuse my worst enemy of a want of heart, if he behaved 
like a gentleman to me. However, I am convinced that if 
a man had not a good only, but a perfect heart, if all his 
attention were directed to the comfort of others, and he 
was willing perpetually to make the sacrifice necessary to 
insure it, he would need little or no instruction in manners 
more than a little experience. He would soon discover 
how this act or that gave offence or caused embarrassment 
to his neighbour ; and while he saw nothing wrong in it 
himself, would, for his neighbour's sake, avoid it for the 
future. He himself might see no harm in using a tooth- 
pick at dinner, but he would soon see the obnoxiousness of 
it reflected in opposite faces, and down would go the tooth- 
pick. Give such a man, ill-bred, even unbred naturally, the 
time and the opportunity, a«d he would turn out a gentle- 
man. But first, where do you find this perfect considera- 
tion for others, this brotherly love, for it is nothing else, 
which descends to the minutest details, and feels within 
itself the vibration of every chord too rudely struck in other 
hearts % Alas, where % Or, given the heart, how are you 
to insure the experience 1 Meanwhile, in waiting for hearts 
and experiences, society grows depraved. It is for this 
reason that we set up laws of etiquette, as it is called — but 
laws of Christian action we might call them — to insist 
upon the show of that which ought to come spontaneously 
from the heart. In doing so, we merely copy lawgivers of 
another kind. Honesty is not honesty, for instance, if it 
- come not from within. The most respectable man might 
be dishonest if he had the chance, and no fear of the law. 
Nevertheless the law undertakes to make men appear 
honest, because it knows that it is in vain to wait for 
honesty in heart. The law tells the young thief he must 
rob no more, and it may cure him of thieving and make 
him turn out a respectable man — in appearance ; but it 
cannot be sure, because he does not thieve, that he has no 
internal desire to do so, and would not do so if the fear of 



MANNER AND THE HEART. 



241 



the law were gone. So too, in just the same way, the laws 
of society give rules by which a man may be amiable and 
well-bred — to all appearance; but it cannot a whit the 
more insure the good feeling which ought to suggest the 
good acts. 

I say, then, that because Etiquette lays down rules by 
which you are to appear to have a heart, she does nothing 
worse than the laws of the realm, which show how you 
may appear honest, and leave your heart alone. This pre- 
face is necessary, because when I say a man is to smile at 
such a time, and show dignity at such another, the world 
might tell me I was teaching hypocrisy. I am doing no- 
thing of the kind. I am merely providing for acts which 
are necessary to the wellbeing of society, because I know 
that if every one acted according to his heart, the world 
would soon be turned upside-down. 

So then I can manfully say that a good manner is a good 
gift. We know all about oily serpents, we have read 
enough of them in romantic novels, but I am bound to say 
I prefer an oily serpent, by way of society, to an unlicked 
bear. The serpent may not choose me to bite, I may enjoy 
his society, I may never discover that he is anything worse 
than a harmless blind-worm with no sting in him ; but I 
cannot have been a minute with the bear, before I am torn 
to pieces. When I hear of the serpent's biting anybody, I 
can avoid him for the future, but in the meantime he is an 
agreeable companion, and I have no right to judge my neigh- 
bour. T say then that a man should curb his heart first, 
but if he cannot do or has not done this, he has no right 
to come bellowing with irritation into the society of quiet 
people, merely because he will not take the trouble to be 
mannerly. , 

Manner, then, I am bound to confess, is the cloak of 
character, but if to bare the character be indecent, it is 
better it should wear a cloak than go about naked. Un- 
til we are all perfect, until there is a millennium on earth, 
it will always be indecent to wear our feelings in Adamite 
2 H 



242 MANNER, CARRIAGE, AND HABITS. 

costume, and so long will a garment, like that of Manner, 
be necessary. 

A good carriage involves two things, a respect for one's 
self and a respect for others. It is very difficult to draw 
the line between the two, and to show where the one should 
yield to the other ; but as the world goes, the man who 
respects himself is generally respected, and for a very good 
reason, since without a due recognition of the Divine spark 
within him, a recognition owed to his Maker, no man can 
be really good. On the other side, comes the Christian 
precept which bids us love our neighbour as ourself, and 
at once defines where self-respect must end. Wherever our 
dignity, our prejudices, our opinions begin to annoy our 
neighbours, to cause them pain, embarrassment, or confusion, 
they must give way. How often do we hear, " I think 
Mr. is a very excellent man, but he has a most dis- 
agreeable manner;" the fact being that Mr. , meaning 

very well, has not sufficient consideration for others' feel- 
ings to temper his enthusiasm. And then such a man wins 
his reward. His zeal devours him, and he annihilates by 
want of consideration all the good he might have done. 
We see this very often in excellent well-meaning maiden 
ladies, who undertake the supervision of their poorer neigh- 
bours. Wherever they see a fault, they attack it harshly, 
unflinchingly, unpityingly. The result is, that the poor 
they visit begin to loathe them and their visits, and instead 
of improving, despise the improver. Then send to them 
some mild untaught girl, all love, all heart, all warmth, and 
bid her win them back. She begins instinctively by attach- 
ing them to herself, she is all interest, all kindness to them, 
and when she has made their hearts her own, the least ex- 
pression of a wish will make them give up their dearest 
vices. How well has it been put, " Smoothe the way to 
the head through the heart," and we may be sure that 
what is good here in morals is good in manners. Kudeness 
will never win the day ; an amiable, kind manner rides over 
the course. 



SELF-RESPECT AND SELF-ESTEEM. 



243 



The first rule, then, for Manner, is self-respect. With- 
out this, a man is not only weak and bad, but unfit for 
society. The want of it shows itself in two most disagree- 
able forms, adulation and awkwardness. I believe both to 
have no evil intent in themselves. Hundreds and thou- 
sands of flatterers and hangers-on have never hoped to gain 
a single benefit from their adulation. It is simple weak- 
ness ; simple absence of self-respect. But the world will 
not always see it in so charitable a point of view, and the 
flatterer is denounced as interested. In any case, adulation 
is bad, for it is dangerous not only to the servile, but to 
those to whom it is addressed. Awkwardness may often 
arise from shyness, but more often is the fruit of a want of 
self-respect. Both are to be sedulously avoided. 

On the other hand, self-respect is liable to err on the side 
of dignity, and self-respect is only one step removed from 
self-esteem. The one is a vice ; the other a virtue. Self- 
respect is the acknowledgment of manhood, of the good 
soul God has given you to take care of, of the part He has 
given you to play in life. Self-esteem is an arrogance of 
superiority in these points. In the young it takes the form 
of conceit ; in the older, of stateliness ; in the woman, of 
vanity. We pardon it most readily in middle-aged men, 
and yet I think that the oppressive, damping dignity of some 
of these is destructive of all ease in society. When Pater- 
familias asserts his rights, standing with his coat-tails spread 
before the fire, which he hides from everybody else, we 
cannot, dare not object openly, but we certainly feel chilled, 
inwardly by his solemn dignity, and outwardly by the depri- 
vation of caloric. Scarcely less chilling is the arrogance of 
the younger man, who can scarcely condescend to converse 
with us ; who brings his superior information down upon 
our humble opinions, like an avalanche on an Alpine village ; 
who contradicts us flatly, and sneers us into insignificance. 
Conversation becomes impossible, and society is deadened, 
under such influences. 

More innocent, but not less contemptible, is the affecta- 



244 MANNER, CARRIAGE, AND HABITS. 

tion which arises from incipient, often from full-grown, 
vanity. In men it is simply contemptible, because effemi- 
nate ; and the youth who purposely lisps or minces his 
words, or the silky young curate who has, by dint of prac- 
tice, forced down his natural voice into a low, but as Anna 
Maria asserts, most thrilling, whisper ; or the dilettante in 
music, whose hair hangs in profuse curls, and who, as he 
runs fat, white, beringed fingers over the notes, sways his 
body to and fro, and casts his glances to either side in a 
kind of rapture ; nay, even the unnaturally solemn man, 
who looks you through as if he were casting up your 
little account of sin for you, together with a thousand 
other kinds of men, are all too obviously affected to re- 
tain long the respect of sensible people. We know that 
nature has its many faults to be curbed, but we know that 
where nature is not at fault, it is most truthful to let her 
have her run. By the side of the affected man, even the 
bluntest looks noble, and for the very reason that affecta- 
tion arises from a want of self-respect or excess of self- 
esteem, extremes which resemble one another. 

But I would almost dare to say that there never was a 
woman who had not more or less affectation in speaking to 
men. I am not a St. Anthony, but I believe it to be 
natural to women to alter their manner towards the other 
sex ; so that I involve myself in a paradox ; it is natural 
for them to be unnatural under these circumstances. I am 
not going into the logic of it, but really this is only an ap- 
parent paradox, and I may say with perfect truth that it is 
natural for women to be sometimes unnatural. If you 
doubt me, watch how Clara, the simplest, sweetest, least 
sophisticated of her sex, talks to you, a man. Then put on 
the invisible cap and follow her to the drawing-room, where 
she and her sisters will sit alone and talk. If you see no 
marked change of manner in Clara, I will admit that I am 
wrong. 

But then there are grades in women's affectation, and 
while Clara seems to be " all nature," as they say in modern 



EXAMPLES OF A BAD MANNER. 



245 



novels, we can exclaim at first sight that Belinda " is a mass 
of tarlatane and affectation." My dear Belinda, take in 
good part the warning of an old bachelor. Believe me that 
men who are worth your arrows will not be smitten with 
tinsel shafts ; believe me that the better they are, the more 
they love nature in women, artlessness, frankness, modesty. 
But then there is even an affectation of naturalness, and 
you, Clarissa, who are past five-and-twenty — yes, I 
know it, for your little brother let it out ! — feel that you 
never can be really natural again in society, and so you 
affect to be so, by becoming brusque and somewhat pert. 
Men, Clarissa, are not all such fools as you imagine ; they 
will see through this even more easily, and there is no hope 
for you, but to be with them what you are before your own 
looking-glass. But I am trespassing on the province of my 
colleague, and I must return, very loath, to the men. 

Let me give a few samples of manner to be avoided. 
First there is Tibbs, short enough and clever enough to 
be a great man, and such, I daresay, he will be one of these 
days. But Tibbs feels within him the spirit of governance, 
and has reverence for neither old nor young. He walks 
with a short, sharp step, his little nose rather elevated, his 
eyes glaring to detect some weakness on which to pounce. 
You put forward an opinion, the meekest you can give : " It 
will turn out fine." " Beg your pardon," answered Tibbs, 
with that sharp snap, which makes the words sound like 
" Don't be a fool !" " it will not be a fine day. I have good 
reason to know it, there." What can you do with Tibbs, 
but collapse 1 He treats his father and grandfather, and 
mother and sister, all in the same way, and they are cowed 
before him. Tibbs is never downrightly rude. You can- 
not catch him up and call him a bear ; but his manner of 
speaking continually conveys the impression that Tibbs be- 
lieves in his own acuteness only, and in nobody else's. He 
is the kind of man who can open Shakspere, read a passage, 
and exclaim, "Did you ever hear such nonsense?" giving 
you good reasons forsooth, if poets and philosophers could 



246 



MANNER, CARRIAGE, AND HABITS. 



be measured by the lowest standard of the dryest common 
sense. Tibbs is all common sense, but by no means a plea- 
sant companion. 

Very different is old Mr. Dawdles. He seems to be in 
a state of chronic plethora. Say what you will on his 
dearest themes, he has no reply for you but a yes or no 
snivelled out. When he speaks himself, he appears to be 
grumbling at you, however kind his words. You know he 
is good and means very well, and he would give you half 
his fortune out of sheer kindness, but with a gesture and 
tone of voice which would seem to say, " There, take it, 
and don't make a fuss." He does hate a fuss, more than 
all other abominations. 

There is Slouch, again, whom I believe to be an incarna- 
tion of honour and uprightness, but who gives you the idea 
of a sneak and a villain. He never looks you full in the 
face. His shaggy brows hang over his lurking eyes, and 
his words come cautiously and suspiciously wriggling up to 
you. 

But Pompous has the best of hearts. He has been known 
to go out of his way for miles to leave a little something 
with a poor widow. And how the man wrongs himself ! 
He is very tall, and has a fine figure. He draws himself 
up to the greatest height, and looks down on you as if you 
were a Lilliput, and all the while he loves you, but is 
ashamed to show it. He orders his wife and servants 
about with a calm imperiousness which makes them dread 
him, and yet they all acknowledge they never knew a kinder 
man, though I never yet saw a smile of pity or sympathy 
on his face. 

Far less admirable is that weak young Fitzwhiskers, who 
holds his head so very high, and walks down the room with 
a curled lip, which seems to say, " What scum you all are !" 
Then there is Commodus, an agreeable man, if you can 
keep him within bounds. He sits down quietly enough 
and you are pleased, but in two minutes he is making the 
freest possible remarks, with no harm, no intentional 



EXAMPLES OF A BAD MANNER. 



247 



offence in them, but yet so intolerably familiar for a man 
you have known but five minutes, that they quite upset you. 
Only the other day I rashly introduced him to a young 
lady, and she afterwards told me how he had begun : — 
" Were you at the opera last night 1" this was politely and 
quietly asked. " No." " How very fortunate for those 
who were there ! Those eyes would have singed a dozen 
hearts." 

But Vivax is one of the worst. He talks atrociously 
loud ; hails you from the other end of the table. " Will 
trouble you for that, ha, ha ! and for this, ho, ho !" and 
" Have you been dancing, Miss Smith 1 ha, ha ! Then of 
course you have, Miss Jones 1 he, he ! and What do you say 
to it, Mrs. Brown ?" and he is round the whole circle, from 
one to another, in two minutes, not waiting for answers. 
Then he bustles about ; he must always have something on 
hand. He drags you here one minute, and rushes away 
from you the next. He talks as rapidly as an auctioneer, 
and rattles over a dozen subjects in as many minutes. He 
is quick and clever, but when he has jerked out his own 
thought, he clinches it with a ha, ha ! or a he, he ! and 
never waits for your answer. 

Glumme is just the reverse. You must do all the talk- 
ing for him : he will only drawl out a " No-o-o," or a 
" Ye-e-es," and wears a perpetual scowl. 

Then there is Tripett, who seizes you by the button-hole, 
and grows hot over the merest trifle ; Courte, who replies 
with a sharp sneer ; Sterne, who has for ever a look of 
reproof, though he does not mean it ; Fidgette, who can 
never be prevailed upon to be comfortable ; Bluff, who 
terrifies you with his curt blunt manner ; and Lackadaye, 
who is so languid that he cannot take the trouble even to 
look at you. One genius whom I knew, never removed 
his eyes from the lamp on the table ; another rushed up to 
you, seized both your hands, and gazed with apparent affec- 
tion into your eyes ; a third spoke deep truths in a low 
solemn tone, as he gazed at a spot on the carpet ; a fourth 



248 



MANNER, CARRIAGE, AND HABITS. 



moved his head to and fro, as if to avoid your gaze : and a 
fifth, the greatest of all, never spoke at all. 

The manner, in short, which a man must aspire to, is 
one which will give ease, and not embarrassment, to others. 
He must preserve a certain dignity, but yet be pliant ; he 
must be open, frank ; look you honestly in the face, speak 
out confidently, yet calmly ; modestly, yet firmly ; not be 
bluff or blunt, but yet be free and simple. In fact, let a man 
be natural, let him be in society what he is anywhere ; but 
if he find his natural manner too rough, too loud, too curt, 
or too brutal, let him learn to tame it and calm it down. 

But manner has various functions for various circum- 
stances. Towards our elders and superiors, we must show 
an honest, not servile deference; towards women, gentle- 
ness ; towards juniors, tenderness ; towards inferiors, a 
simple dignity, without condescension. Aristotle, who was 
perhaps a better philosopher than gentleman, recommends 
a haughtiness to superiors, and graceful freedom to in- 
feriors. The world is old enough to judge for itself. But 
when a man finds that his lively badinage suits a band of 
merry lissome girls, he must not be so wild as to rush at 
Papa with the same kind of banter. Paterfam. may give 
a smile to real wit and laugh at a good story, but the 
same trifling which makes his daughters laugh so ringingly, 
will only appear to him a familiarity when addressed to 
himself. Then, again, the gravity into which you have 
fallen when discussing great measures with a philanthropist, 
will afford no satisfaction to the airy mass of tarlatane 
with^-whom you dance soon after. Solomon has said it : 
there is & time to weep and a time to laugh. In other 
words, be you as merry a jester as ever sat at a king's table, 
you must not obtrude your unweary mirth at a visit of 
condolence ; or be you the " most bereaved" of widowers, 
you will not bring your tears and sighs to damp the merri- 
ment of social gatherings. 

What applies to manner may be transferred in most 
respects to that bearing which distinguishes a man in society. 



THE PHYSICAL CAKRIAGE. 



249 



But the times change much in this respect, and the old 
courteous dignity with which the beaux of my younger days 
behaved, has given way to greater ease, and sometimes, I 
fear, to too great freedom. I do not know whether to 
regret, or not, the strict courteousness of those times. It 
often amounted to affectation ; it was not natural to be 
ever bowing low, making set speeches, raising a lady's hands 
to one's lips, or pressing one's own upon the region of the 
heart, but at the same time I regret the lounging familiarity 
which we see too prevalent among young men of the pre- 
sent day. There is not in fact sufficient reverence for the 
fair and the old. Sometimes this, I regret to say, must be 
charged to the fault of the former ; and a young lady who 
talks slang, or is always with " the men," must expect to 
find them sometimes abuse her good-nature. But abstracts 
are ineffective ; let me come to some details as to the phy- 
sical carriage of a man. 

A certain dignity is the first requisite, but we must not 
expect too much of it in the young, and we should not 
emulate the solemnity of Charles the First, who never 
laughed. It is a mistake, too, to suppose that height is 
necessary for dignity. Chesterfield, the most polished gen- 
tleman of his day, was only five feet seven in height, and 
"Wellington and Bonaparte, both short men, have never been 
accused of want of dignity. But at the same time the 
assumption of it is more liable to become ridiculous in a short 
than in a tall man. Dignity can never go along with 
a slouching gait, and uprightness should be acquired in 
childhood by gymnastics and ample exercise. This upright- 
ness, however, should not go to the extent of curving the 
back inwards. The chest should be expanded, but not so 
much as to make " a presence." The head should be set 
well back on the shoulders, but not tossed up nor jerked 
on one side with that air of pertness you see in some men. 
People of height are often foolish enough to mar it by bend- 
ing the head forward, whereas, if carried well, a tall figure 
is never awkward, even among Lilliputs. In standing, the 
2i 



250 



MANNER, CARRIAGE, AND HABITS. 



legs ought to be straight, or one of them bent a little, but 
not set wide apart. In walking, they should be moved 
gently but firmly from the hips, so that the upper part of 
the body may remain in the same position. How often 
from my window have I been able to mark a man by his 
walk ! One comes striding stoutly like a captain on quar- 
ter-deck ; another shambles his feet along the pavement ; 
a third swings his arms violently ; a fourth carries them 
bowed out before him like a dancing-master of the old 
school ; a fifth turns out his huge feet at an angle of forty- 
five ; another jerks forward his pointed toes like a soldier 
at drill ; another sways his body from side to side ; another 
looks almost hump-backed, as he moves heavily on ; one more 
saunters listlessly with his hands in his pockets; this one 
moves his arms back behind him, and that one carries them 
stiff and straight as iron bars, with his fists clenched like 
knobs at the end thereof. The feet must be turned outwards 
very little indeed ; the arms should be carried easily and very 
slightly bent at the sides, and in walking should be moved 
a little, without swinging them ; and the shoulders should 
never be shrugged up. Avoid stiffness on the one hand, 
lounging on the other. Be natural and perfectly at your 
ease, whether in walking or sitting, and aspire to calm con- 
fidence rather than loftiness. 

There is, however, one good habit which must not be 
overlooked. You should never speak without a slight" 
smile, or at least a beam of good-will in your eyes, and that 
to all, whether your equals or inferiors. To the latter it is 
especially necessary, and often wins you more love than 
the most liberal benevolence. But this smile should not 
settle into a simper, nor, when you are launched in a con- 
versation, should it interfere with the earnestness of your 
manner. To a lady it should be more marked than to a 
man. 

In listening, again, you should manifest a certain interest 
in what a person is saying ; and however little worthy of 
attention, you should not show that you think it so by the 



CARRIAGE. 



251 



toss of your head or the wandering of your eyes. In 
speaking to any one you should look them in the face, for 
the eyes always aid the tongue, but you should not carry 
this to the extent of wriggling yourself forward in order 
to catch their eyes, if there happen to be another person 
between you. 

It is painful to see the want of ease with which some 
men sit on the edge of a chair ; but at the same time the 
manner in which others throw themselves back and stretch 
forward their legs savours too much of familiarity. You 
may cross your legs if you like, but not hug your knees nor 
your toes. Straddling a chair, and tilting it up may be 
pardonable in a bachelor's rooms, but not in a lady's draw- 
ing-room. Then, if you carry a walking-stick or umbrella 
in the street, you should avoid swinging them violently 
about, or tucking them under the arm. Both are dangerous 
to your neighbours, for in the one case you may inadvert- 
ently strike a person and get into as great trouble as the 
individual who was brought up the other day for assaulting a 
woman with a cricket-bat, which he affirmed he was merely 
swinging about carelessly ; in the other, the point of your 
stick may run into some unfortunate creature's eye. 

Foreigners talk with their arms and hands as auxiliaries 
to the voice. The custom is considered vulgar by us calm 
Englishmen, and a Parisian, who laughs at our ladies' 
dressing, will still admit that our men are " distingues, 
mais Ires-distinguter If the face follows the words, and 
you allow, without grimacing, your eyes and smile to ex- 
press what you are saying, you have no need to act it with 
the hands, but, if you use them at all, it should be very 
slightly and gracefully, never bringing down a fist upon the 
table, nor slapping one hand upon another, nor poking your 
fingers at your interlocutor. Pointing, too, is a habit to 
be avoided, especially pointing with the thumb over the 
shoulder, which is an inelegant action. In short, while 
there is no occasion to be stolid or constrained, you should 
not be too lively in your actions, and even if led away by 



252 



MANNER, CARRIAGE, AND HABITS. 



the enthusiasm of an argument, should never grow loud, 
rant, or declaim. No manner is more disagreeable than 
that of vehement affirmation or laying down the law. 

With these remarks I may pass to consider certain habits 
which are more or less annoying to your neighbours. First, 
there is that odious habit of touching the nose and ears 
with the fingers, for which there is no excuse. Every part 
of the person should be properly tended in the dressing- 
room, never in the drawing-room, and for this reason picking 
the teeth, however fashionable it may once have been, 
scratching the head, the hands, or any part of the body, are 
to be avoided. Mr. Curzon tells us that at Erzeroum it is 
quite the fashion to scratch the bites of a little insect as 
common there as in certain London hotels, and it is even 
considered a delicate attention to catch the lively creatures 
as they perch on the dress or shoulders of your partner. 
Fortunately we are not tempted to perform such attentions 
in this country ; but, if you have the misfortune to be bitten 
or stung by any insect, you must endure the pain without 
scratching the bite in company. These same little insects 
being of very disagreeable origin, are not even spoken of 
with us. Biting the nails, again, is not only a dirty habit, 
but one which soon disfigures the fingers. So too in blow- 
ing your nose, you must not make the noise of a trumpet, 
but do it gently and quietly ; and, when you sneeze, use 
your handkerchief. I do not go the length of saying that 
you must repress a sneeze entirely. There is a pleasant 
custom, still universal in Germany and Italy, and retained 
among the peasantry in some parts of England, of blessing 
a person who has sneezed, henedicite, Gott segne sie, and 
" bless you," being the terms used, probably in the hope 
that the prayer may keep you from cold. 

Sneezing brings me to snuffing, which is an obsolete 
custom, retained only by a few old gentlemen, and as it 
is a bad one, no young man should think of reviving it. 

But what shall I say of the fragrant weed which Raleigh 
taught our gallants to puff in capacious bowls ; which a 



THE EFFECTS OF SMOKING. 



253 



royal pedant denounced in a famous " Counterblast ; " which 
his flattering laureate, Ben Jonson, ridiculed to please his 
master ; which our wives and sisters protest gives rise to the 
dirtiest and most unsociable habit a man can indulge in ; of 
which some fair favourers declare that they love the smell, 
and others that they will never marry an indulger (which, 
by the way, they generally end in doing) ; which has won a 
fame over more space and among better men than Noah's 
grape has ever done ; which doctors still dispute about, and 
boys still get sick over : but which is the solace of the weary 
labourer ; the support of the ill-fed ; the refresher of over- 
wrought brains ; the soother of angry fancies ; the boast 
of the exquisite ; the excuse of the idle ; the companion 
of the philosopher ; and the tenth muse of the poet. I 
will go neither into the medical nor the moral question 
about the dreamy, calming cloud. I will content myself 
so far with saying what may be said for everything that 
can bless and curse mankind, that, in moderation, it is at 
least harmless ; but what is moderate and what is not, must 
be determined in each individual case, according to the 
habits and constitution of the subject. If it cures asthma, 
it may destroy digestion ; if it soothes the nerves, it 
may, in excess, produce a chronic irritability. 

But I will regard it in a social point of view ; and, first, 
as a narcotic, notice its effects on the individual character. 
I believe, then, that in moderation it diminishes the violence of 
the passions, and particularly that of the temper. Interested 
in the subject, I have taken care to seek instances of mem- 
bers of the same family having the same violent tempers 
by inheritance, of whom the one has been calmed down by 
smoking, and the other gone on in his passionate course. 
I believe that it induces a habit of calm reflectiveness, 
which causes us to take less prejudiced, perhaps less zealous 
views of life, and to be therefore less irritable in our con- 
verse with our fellow-creatures. I am inclined to think 
that the clergy, the squirearchy, and the peasantry are the 
most prejudiced and most violent classes in this country ; 



25 4 MANNER, CARRIAGE, AND HABITS. 

there may be other reasons for this, but it is noteworthy 
that these are the classes which smoke least. On the 
other hand, I confess that it induces a certain lassitude, 
and a lounging, easy mode of life, which are fatal both to 
the precision of manners and the vivacity of conversation. 
The mind of a smoker is contemplative rather than active ; 
and if the weed cures our irritability, it kills our wit. I 
believe that it is a fallacy to suppose that it encourages 
drinking. There is more drinking and less smoking in this 
than in any other country of the civilized world. There 
was more drinking among the gentry of last century, who 
never smoked at all. Smoke and wine do not go well 
together. Coffee or beer are its best accompaniments, 
and the one cannot intoxicate, the other must be largely 
imbibed to do so. I have observed among young bachelors 
that very little wine is drunk in their chambers, and that 
beer is gradually taking its place. The cigar, too, is an 
excuse for rising from the dinner-table where there are no 
ladies to go to. 

In another point of view, I am inclined to think that 
smoking has conduced to make the society of men when alone 
less riotous, less quarrelsome, and even less vicious than it 
was. Where young men now blow a common cloud, they were 
formerly driven to a fearful consumption of wine, and this 
in their heads, they were ready and roused to any iniquity. 
But the pipe is the bachelor's wife. With it he can endure 
solitude longer, and is not forced into low society in order 
to shun it. With it too the idle can pass many an hour, 
which otherwise he would have given, not to work, but 
to extravagant devilries. With it he is no longer restless 
and impatient for excitement of any kind. We never hear 
now of young blades issuing in bands from their wine to 
beat the watch or disturb the slumbering citizens, as we 
did thirty or forty years ago, when smoking was still a 
rarity : they are all puffing harmlessly in their cham- 
bers now. But, on the other hand, I foresee with dread a 
too tender allegiance to the pipe, to the destruction of good 



TI E ETIQUETTE OF THE WEED. 



255 



society, and the abandonment of the ladies. No wonder 
they hate it, dear creatures ; the pipe is the worst rival a 
woman can have : and it is one whose eyes she cannot scratch 
out j who improves with age, while she herself declines ; 
who has an art which no woman possesses, that of never 
wearying her devotee ; who is silent, yet a companion ; costs 
little, yet gives much pleasure ; who, lastly, never upbraids, 
and always yields the same joy. Ah ! this is a powerful 
rival to wife or maid, and no wonder that at last the 
woman succumbs, consents, and rather than lose her lord 
or master, even supplies the hated herb with her own fair 
hands. And this is what women have come to do on the 
Continent ; but in America they have gone further, and 
admitted the rival to their very drawing-rooms, where the 
unmanly husband stretches his legs on the sofa, smokes, 
and spits on the carpet. Far be it from our English 
women to permit any such habits ; and yet, as things are, 
a little concession is prudent. There was not so much 
drinking when withdrawing-rooms were the privilege of 
palaces, and matrons sat over the cups of their lords, and 
there will not be near so much smoking where ladies are 
present. I have no wish to see English girls light their 
own cigarettes or puff their own chibouks, like the houris of 
Seville and Bagdad ; but I do think that, as smoking is 
now so much a habit of Englishmen, it would be wise if it 
were made possible, within certain well-guarded limitations, 
in the society of ladies. 

As it is, there are rules enough to limit this indulgence. 
One must never smoke, nor even ask to smoke, in the com- 
pany of the fair. If they know that in a few minutes you 
will be running off to your cigar, the fair will do well — say 
it is in a garden, or so — to allow you to bring it out and 
smoke it there. One must never smoke, again, in the 
streets ; that is, in daylight. The deadly crime may be 
committed, like burglary, after dark, but not before. One 
must never smoke in a room inhabited at times by the 
ladies ; thus, a well-bred man who has a wife or sisters, 



256 



MANNEK, CARRIAGE, AND HABITS. 



ay ill not offer to smoke in the dining-room after dinner. 
One must never smoke in a public place, where ladies are or 
might be, for instance, a flower-show or promenade. One may 
smoke in a railway-carriage in spite of bye-laws, if one has 
first obtained the consent of every one present; but if there 
be a lady there, though she give her consent, smoke not. 
In nine cases out of ten, she will give it from good-nature. 
One must never smoke in a close carriage ; one may ask 
and obtain leave to smoke when returning from a pic-nic or 
expedition in an open carriage. One must never smoke in 
a theatre, on a race-course, nor in church. This last is not 
perhaps a needless caution. In the Belgian churches you 
see a placard announcing, " Ici on ne mache pas du tabac." 
One must never smoke when anybody shows an objection 
to it. One must never smoke a pipe in the streets ; one 
must never smoke at all in the coffee-room of a hotel. One 
must never smoke, without consent, in the presence of a 
clergyman, and one must never offer a cigar to any ecclesi- 
astic over the rank of curate. 

But if you smoke, or if you are in the company of 
smokers, and are to wear your clothes in the presence of 
ladies afterwards, you must change them to smoke in. A 
host who asks you to smoke, will generally offer you an 
old coat for the purpose. You must also, after smoking, 
rinse the mouth well out, and, if possible, brush the teeth. 
You should never smoke in another person's house without 
leave, and you should not ask leave to do so, if there are 
ladies in the house. When you are going to smoke a 
cigar yourself, you should offer one at the same time to 
anybody present, if not a clergyman or a very old man. 
You should always smoke a cigar given to you, whether 
good or bad, and never make any remarks on its quality. 

Smoking reminds me of spitting, but as this is at all 
times a disgusting habit, I need say nothing more than — 
never indulge in it. Besides being coarse and atrocious, it 
is very bad for the health. 

There are some other habits which are disagreeable 



HABITS AT TABLE. 



257 



to your company. One is that of sniffling or breathing 
hard through the nostrils, which is only excusable if you 
have a cold, and even then very disagreeable. Another is 
that of shaking the table with your leg, a nervous habit, 
which you may not always be conscious of. Then again, 
however consoling to sing and hum to yourself, you must 
remember that it may annoy others, and though you may 
whistle when alone, " for want of thought," you will whistle 
in company only for want of consideration of others. Ladies 
particularly object to whistling, which is a musical, but not 
very melodious habit. 

We now come to habits at table, which are very import- 
ant. However agreeable a man may be in society, if he 
offends or disgusts by his table traits, he will soon be 
scouted from it, and justly so. There are some broad rules 
for behaviour at table. Whenever there is a servant to 
help you, never help yourself. Never put a knife into your 
mouth, not even with cheese, which should be eaten with a 
fork. Never use a spoon for anything but liquids. Never 
touch anything edible with your fingers. 

Forks were undoubtedly a later invention than fingers, 
but as we are not cannibals, I am inclined to think they 
were a good one. There are some few things which you 
may take up with your fingers. Thus an epicure will eat 
even macaroni with his fingers ; and as sucking asparagus 
is more pleasant than chewing it, you may as an epicure, 
take it up an naturel. But both these things are generally 
eaten with a fork. Bread is of course eaten with the 
fingers, and it would be absurd to carve it with your knife 
and fork. It must, on the contrary, always be broken 
when not buttered, and you should never put a slice of dry 
bread to your mouth to bite a piece off. Most fresh fruit 
too is eaten with the natural prongs, but when you have 
peeled an orange or apple, you should cut it with the aid 
of the fork, unless you can succeed in breaking it. Apro- 
pos of which I may hint that no epicure ever yet put 
knife to apple, and that an orange should be peeled with 
2 K 



258 MANNER, CARRIAGE, AND HABITS. 

a spoon. But the art of peeling an orange so as to hold 
its own juice, and its own sugar too, is one that can scarcely 
be taught in a book. 

However, let us go to dinner, and I will soon tell you 
whether you are a well-bred man or not ; and here let me 
premise that what is good manners for a small dinner is 
good manners for a large one, and vice versa. Now, the 
first thing you do is to sit down. Stop, sir ! pray do not 
cram yourself into the table in that way; no, nor sit a 
yard from it, like that. How graceless, inconvenient, and 
in the way of easy conversation ! Why, dear me, you are 
positively putting your elbows on the table, and now you 
have got your hands fumbling about with the spoons and 
forks, and now you are nearly knocking my new hock 
glasses over. Can't you take your hands down, sir? Didn't 
you learn that in the nursery 1 Didn't your mamma say to 
you, " Never put your hands above the table except to carve 
or eat!" Oh ! but come, no nonsense, sit up if you please. 
I can't have your fine head of hair forming a side dish on 
my table ; you must not bury your face in the plate, you 
came to show it, and it ought to be alive. Well, but there 
is no occasion to throw your head back like that, you look 
like an alderman, sir, after dinner. Pray, don't lounge in 
that sleepy way. You are here to eat, drink, and be merry. 
You can sleep when you get home. 

Well, then, I suppose you can see your napkin. Got 
none, indeed ! Very likely, in my house. You may be 
sure that I never sit down to a meal without napkins. I 
don't want to make my tablecloths unfit for use, and I 
don't want to make my trousers unwearable. Well now, 
we are all seated, you can unfold it on your knees : no, no ; 
don't tuck it into your waistcoat like an alderman ; and 
what ! what on earth do you mean by wiping your forehead 
with it % Do you take it for a towel % Well, never mind, 
I am consoled that you did not go farther, and use it as a 
pocket-handkerchief. So talk away to the lady on your 
right, and wait till soup is handed to you. By the way, 



HABITS AT TABLE. 



259 



that waiting is a most important part of table manners, 
and as much as possible you should avoid asking for any- 
thing or helping yourself from the table. Your soup you 
eat with a spoon — I don't know what else you could eat it 
with — but then it must be one of good size. Yes, that will 
do, but I beg you will not make that odious noise in drink- 
ing your soup. It is louder than a dog lapping water, and 
a cat would be quite genteel to it. Then you need not 
scrape up the plate in that way, nor even tilt it to get the 
last drop. I shall be happy to send you some more j but I 
must just remark, that it is not the custom to take two help- 
ings of soup, and it is liable to keep other people waiting, 
which, once for all, is a selfish and intolerable habit. But 
don't you hear the servant offering you sherry 1 I wish 
you would attend, for my servants have quite enough to do, 
and can't wait all the evening while you finish that very 
mild story to Miss Goggles. Come, leave that decanter 
alone. I had the wine put on the table to fill up ; the 
servant will hand it directly, or, as we are a small party, I 
will tell you to help yourself, but, pray, do not be so officious. 
(There, I have sent him some turbot to keep him quiet. I 
declare he cannot make up his mind.) You are keeping 
my servant again, sir. Will you, or will you not, do turbot ? 
Don't examine it in that way ; it is quite fresh, I assure you, 
take or decline it. Ah, you take it, but that is no reason 
why you should take up a knife too. Fish, I repeat, must 
never be touched with a knife. Take a fork in the right, 
and a small piece of bread in the left hand. Good, but — % 
Oh ! that is atrocious ; of course you must not swallow the 
bones, but you should rather do so than spit them out in 
that way. Put up your napkin like this, and land the 
said bone on your plate. Don't rub your bread in the 
sauce, my good man, nor go progging about after the 
shrimps or oysters therein. Oh ! how horrid ; I declare 
your mouth was wide open and full of fish. Small pieces, I 
beseech you ; and once for all, whatever you eat, keep your 
mouth shut, and never attempt to talk with it ML 



260 



MANNERS, CARRIAGE, AND HABITS. 



So now you have got a pate. Surely you are not taking 
two on your plate. There is plenty of dinner to come, and 
one is quite enough. Oh ! dear me, you are incorrigible. 
What ! a knife to cut that light, brittle pastry ? No, nor 
ringers, never. Nor a spoon — almost as bad. Take your 
fork, sir, your fork ; and now you have eaten, oblige me by 
wiping your mouth and moustache with your napkin, for there 
is a bit of the pastry hanging to the latter, and looking very 
disagreeable. Well, you can refuse a dish if you like. There 
is no positive necessity for you to take venison if you don't 
want it. But, at any rate, do not be in that terrific hurry. 
You are not going off by the next train. Wait for the 
sauce and wait for vegetables ; but whether you eat them 
or not, do not begin before everybody else. Surely you must 
take my table for that of a railway refreshment-room, for 
you have finished before the person I helped first. Fast 
eating is bad for the digestion, my good sir, and not very 
good manners either. What ! are you trying to eat meat 
with a fork alone 1 Oh ! it is sweetbread, I beg your 
pardon, you are quite right. Let me give you a rule, — 
Everything that can be cut without a knife, should be cut 
with a fork alone. Eat your vegetables therefore with a 
fork. No, there is no necessity to take a spoon for peas ; 
a fork in the right hand will do. 'What ! did I really see 
you put your knife into yonr mouth 1 Then I must give 
you up. Once for all, and ever, the knife is to cut, not to 
help with. Pray, do not munch in that noisy manner ; 
chew your food well, but softly. Eat slowly. Have you 
not heard that Napoleon lost the battle of Leipsic by eating 
too fast 1 It is a fact though. His haste caused indigestion, 
which made him incapable of attending to the details of 
the battle. You see you are the last person eating at table. 
Sir, I will not allow you to speak to my servants in that 
way. If they are so remiss as to oblige you to ask for 
anything, do it gently, and in a low tone, and thank a 
servant just as much as you would his master. Ten to one 
he is as good a man j and because he is your inferior in 



HABITS AT TABLE. 



261 



position, is the very reason you should treat him cour- 
teously. Oh ! it is of no use to ask me to take wine ; far 
from pacifying me, it will only make me more angry, for I 
tell you the custom is quite gone out, except in a few 
country villages, and at a mess-table. Nor need you ask 
the lady to do so. However, there is this consolation, if 
you should ask any one to take wine with you, he or she 
cannot refuse, so you have your own way. Perhaps next 
you will be asking me to hob and nob, or trinquer in the 
French fashion with arms encircled. Ah ! you don't know, 
perhaps, that when a lady trinques in that way with you, you 
have a right to finish off with a kiss. Very likely, indeed, 
in England ! But it is the custom in familiar circles in 
France, but then we are not Frenchmen. Will you attend 
to your lady, sir 1 You did not come merely to eat, but to 
make yourself agreeable. Don't sit as glum as the Memnon 
at Thebes ; talk and be pleasant. Now, you have some 
pudding. No knife — no, no. A spoon if you like, but 
better still, a fork. Yes, ice requires a spoon ; there is a 
small one handed you, take that. 

Say " no." That is the fourth time wine has been handed 
to you, and I am sure you have had enough. Decline this 
time if you please. Decline that dish too. Are you going 
to eat of everything that is handed 1 I pity you if you do. 
No, you must not ask for more cheese, and you must eat it 
with your fork. Break the rusk with your fingers. Good. 
You are drinking a glass of old port. Do not quaff it down 
at a gulp in that way. Never drink a whole glassful of 
anything at once. 

Well, here is the wine and dessert. Take whichever 
wine you like, but remember you must keep to that, and not 
change about. Before you go up stairs I will allow you a 
glass of sherry after your claret, but otherwise drink of one 
wine only. You don't mean to say you are helping yourself 
to wine before the ladies. At least offer it to the one next to 
you, and then pass it on, gently, not with a push like that. 
Do not drink so fast ; you will hurry me in passing the 



/ 

262 MANNERS, CARRIAGE, AND HABITS. 

decanters, if I see that your glass is empty. You need not 
eat dessert till the ladies are gone, but offer them whatever 
is nearest to you. And now they are gone, draw your chair 
near mine, and I will try and talk more pleasantly to you. 
You will come out admirably at your next dinner with all 
my teaching. What ! you are excited, you are talking 
loud to the colonel. Nonsense. Come and talk easily to me 
or to your nearest neighbour. There, don't drink any more 
wine, for I see you are getting romantic. You oblige me 
to make a move. You have had enough of those walnuts ; 
you are keeping me, my dear sir. So now to coffee (one 
cup) and tea, which I beg you will not pour into your 
saucer to cool. Well, the dinner has done you good, and 
me too. Let us be amiable to the ladies, but not too 
much so. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



THE CARRIAGE OP LADIES. 

" To be civil with ease," it has been well remarked, con- 
stitutes good breeding. The English, it is added, have not 
les manieres prevenantes ; " when they want to be civil, 
they are ashamed to get it out." Since the manners are 
generally formed for good or for bad before thirty — 
although they may improve or deteriorate after that age — it 
is to the young that a few admonitions should be offered. 

" To the young ?" The young are perfect now-a-days ! 
Ours is the age of self-assertion. " I shall be surprised at 
any one who can point out a single defect in my daughters," 
says a well-satisfied mamma. " Teach us I " respond the 
young ladies in a chorus, "what does the creature mean ?" 
" My dears," murmurs a tremulous voice from the other 
end of the room, grandmamma's corner, " dont say that ; 
in my younger days it was the fashion for young ladies, if 
they were not really humble and timid, to appear so. I 
never came into a room as you, Arabella, do, as if I could 
walk over every one, and didn't mind ; nor crept in, Helen, 
like you, as if you had been doing something in the passage 
you were ashamed of ; nor plumped down into a chair like 

you, Sophia, nor ." Here they all interrupt poor 

grandmamma with a loud, simultaneous laugh, for she is 
certainly quite out of date, and knows nothing of the 
matter. 

She might have laid down immutable rules for good 
breeding ; she might have said, with the great Lord Chat- 
263 



264 



THE CARRIAGE OP LADIES. 



ham, who probably was the best-bred man of his time, that 
" politeness is benevolence in trifles with Rochefoucault, 
" that it is the mind that forms the manners but who 
would have listened to her 1 Arabella would have called 
out, " Who cares for such old fogrums now f ' and Helen 
have added, that she thought Lord Chesterfield and " all 
that humbug about manners quite a sell." 

Yes, it is true ; nous avons change tout cela. Except in 
the very highest classes, where politeness and a good car- 
riage are taught from infancy — the higher classes being 
more retentive of old forms than any others ; except there, 
where what is called the " old school" has not died out, it is 
now not only allowable, but even thought clever, to be loud, 
positive, and rapid ; to come into the room like a whirlwind, 
carrying all before you ; to look upon every one else as 
inferiors, with the idea that it enforces that conviction ; to 
have your own set of opinions and ideas, without the least 
reference to what others think ; and to express them in 
terms which would have been far better comprehended in 
the stable than by a company of ladies and gentlemen some 
twenty years ago. Even in the highest classes, these 
watering-place manners — so let us call them — are on the 
increase, but only amongst a certain set, who give the tone 
to a set, emulating their merits, below them. 

It is as well to suggest to the young, "to be early, 
what they will, in later life, wish they had always been." 
Unhappily those who compose society are prone to borrow 
their ideas from the class above them, and do not think for 
themselves. Melissa, the attorney's daughter, catches up 
a few words of slang from the county member's daughter at 
the last races, and thinks it pretty to use those phrases 
vigorously. Philippa, the good old rector's favourite child, 
hears Lady Elizabeth contradict her mamma, and takes 
the same cue herself, as the certainty of doing the right 
thing. Modesty and simplicity, the offspring of reverence, 
dare not show their faces, and are voted " slow." 

Since language is the exponent of character, it is necessary 



ON FIRST INTRODUCTION. 



265 



to refer to its abuse, as if it does not in all cases actually show 
a vulgar and pretentious mind, it is apt to render it so. 

An agreeable, modest, and dignified bearing is, in the 
younger period of a woman's existence, almost like a por- 
tion to her. Whatever may be the transient tone and 
fashion of the day, that which is amiable, graceful, and 
true in taste, will always please the majority of the world. 
A young lady, properly so called, should not require to 
have allowances made for her. Well brought up, her 
address should be polite and gentle, and it will, soon after 
her introduction to society, become easy "to be civil with 
ease." Let us repeat the golden rule, it should be the 
guidance to the minor's morals of society. On first being 
introduced to any stranger, there is no insincerity in the 
display of a certain pleasure. We are advised by Wilber- 
force to give our good-will, at first, on leasehold. To the 
elder, a deferential bend or curtsey, though curtsies are 
now unfashionable, marks the well brought up girl. She 
must not receive her new acquaintance with a hysteric 
laugh, such as I have seen whole families prone to ; neither 
must she look heavy, draw down her mouth, and appear 
as if she did not care for her new acquaintance ; nor must 
she look at once over the dress of her victim (in that case) 
as if taking an inventory of it ; nor appear hurried, as 
if glad to get away on the first break in the conversa- 
tion. She must give a due attention, or reasonable time 
to perfect the introduction, to a certain extent. Volubility 
is to be avoided ; to overpower with a volley of words 
is more cruel than kind ; the words should be gently 
spoken, not drawled, and the voice loud enough to be 
caught easily, but always in an undertone to the power of 
voice allotted by nature. Some persons appear to go to the 
very extent, and deafen you for all other sounds ; they may 
speak the words of wisdom, but you wish them dumb. 
Others mumble so that you are forced continually to express 
your total inability to follow the drift of their remarks ; 
Others drawl so that you feel that life is not long enough 
2i 



266 



THE CARRIAGE OF LADIES. 



for such acquaintance. All these are habits to be con- 
quered in youth. 

Avoid, especially, affectation. It was once in fashion. 
Some ladies put it on with their dresses ; others, by a. long 
practice, were successful in making it habitual. It became 
what was called their manner. Sophia has a manner ; it 
is not affectation, " it is her manner, only manner." Affec- 
tation has long ceased to "be the fashion, and like many 
other bygone peculiarities, one sees it only in shops. 

There is a way also of looking that must be regulated 
in the young. The audacious stare is odious ; the sly, 
oblique, impenetrable look is unsatisfactory. Softly and 
kindly should the eyes be raised to those of the speaker, 
and only withdrawn when the speech, whatever it may be, 
is concluded. Immediate intimacy and a familiar manner 
are worse than the glum look with which some young 
ladies have a habit of regarding their fellow-mortals. 
There is also a certain dignity of manners necessary to 
mal^e even the most superior persons respected. This dig- 
nity can hardly be assumed ; it cannot be taught ; it must 
be the result of intrinsic qualities, aided by a knowledge very 
much overlooked in modern education — " the knowledge 
how to behave." It is distinct from pretension, which is 
about the worst feature of bad manners, and creates nothing 
but disgust. A lady should be equal to every occasion. 
Her politeness, her equanimity, her presence of mind, should 
attend her to the court and to the cottage. 

Neither should private vexations be allowed to act upon 
her manners, either in her own house or in those of others. 
If unfit for society, let her refrain from entering it. If she 
enters it, let her remember that every one is expected to 
add something to the general stock of pleasure or improve- 
ment. The slight self-command required by good society 
is often beneficial both to the temper and spirits. 

One great discredit to the present day is the " fast young 
lady." She is the hoyden of the old comedies, without the 
indelicacy of that character. An avowed flirt, she does not 



THE FAST YOUNG LADY. 



267 



scruple to talk of her conquests, real or imaginary. You 
may know her by her phrases. She talks of " the men," 
of such and such " a charmer." She does not mind, but 
rather prefers sitting with " the men" when they are 
smoking ; she rides furiously, and plays billiards. But it 
is in her marked antagonism to her own sex that the fast 
young lady is perceptible. She shuts up her moral percep- 
tions, and sees neither beauty nor talent in her own sex. 
With all this she is often violently confident, and calls all 
idiots who differ from her in — I can scarcely say her 
opinions — but rather her prejudices. 

By degrees, the assumption of assurance which has had 
its source in bad taste, becomes real ; a hard blase look ; a 
free tongue ; and, above all, the latitude of manners shown 
to her by the other sex, and allowed by her, show that the 
inward characteristics have followed the outward, and that 
she is become insensible to all that she has lost of feminine 
charm, and gained in effrontery. For the instant a woman 
loses the true feminine type, she parts with half her influ- 
ence. The a fast girl" is flattered, admired openly, but 
secretly condemned. Many a plain woman has gained and 
kept a heart by being merely womanly and gentle. In one 
respect, however, the fast young lady may console herself ; 
her flirtations are as fearless as her expressions ; they do 
little harm to any but herself. Broken hearts have not 
to turn reproachfully to loud, high-spirited, overbearing 
women, " jolly girls," as they are styled ; " chaff" in which 
they delight as often offends as amuses. To gain an 
empire over the affections of others, there must be somewhat 
of sentiment or sympathy in the nature of woman. Your 
loud, boastful, positive young lady will never be remem- 
bered with a soft interest, unless there be, perchance, some 
soft touch in her that redeems her from hardness. 

With regard to flirtation, it is difficult to draw a limit 
where the predilection of the moment becomes the more 
tender and serious feeling, and flirtation sobers into a more 
honourable form of devoted attention. 



268 



THE CARRIAGE OF LADIES. 



We all dread for our daughters imprudent and harassing 
attachments ; let it not, however, be supposed that long 
practised flirtations are without their evil effects on the 
character and manners. They excite and amuse, but they 
also exhaust the spirit. They expose women to censure and to 
misconstruction ; that is their least evil ; they destroy the 
charm of her manners and the simplicity of her heart. 
Yet the fast young lady clings to flirtation as the type of 
her class ; the privilege of that social free-masonry which 
enables one flirt to discover and unkennel another. She 
glories in number. Where a rival has slain her thousands, 
she has overthrown her tens of thousands. She forgets 
that, with every successive flirtation, one charm after another 
disappears, like the petals from a fading rose, until all the 
deliciousness of a fresh and pure character is lost in the 
destructive sport. On all these points a woman should 
take a high tone in the beginning of her life. It is sure 
to be sufficiently lowered as time goes on. She loses, too, 
that sort of tact which prevents her from discerning when 
she has gone too far, and the " fast young lady" becomes 
the hardened and practised flirt, against whom all men are 
on their guard. 

It is true that, in comparing the present day with former 
times, we must take into account, when we praise the 
models of more chivalric days, that we know only the best 
specimens ; the interior life of the middle classes is veiled 
from us by the mist of ages. Yet it is to be deduced from 
biography, as well as from the testimony of poets and 
dramatists, that there was, before the Restoration, a sort 
of halo around young women of delicacy and good breeding, 
owing, perhaps, in part, to the more retired lives that they 
led, but more to the remnants of that fast-departing senti- 
ment of chivalrous respect which youth and beauty inspired. 
Then came the upsetting demoralization of the Restoration, 
when all prudent fathers kept their daughters from court, 
and only the bold and " fast " remained to furnish chro- 
nicles for De Grammont : we are not, therefore, to judge of 



THE PRUDE AND THE BLUE-STOCKING. 2G9 

the young women of England by his pictures. The char- 
acter of English ladies rose again to a height of moral 
elevation during the placid and well-conducted rule ot 
Anne, and continued, as far as related to single women, 
to be the pride and boast of the country. Even now, 
when the reckless flirtation, loud voices, unamusing jokes, 
which are comprised under the odious term " chaff," and the 
masculine tastes of the present day are deprecated, events 
bring forth from time to time such instances of devotion 
and virtue as must convince one that there is no degeneracy 
in our own countrywomen on solid points. Few, indeed, 
are these instances, among the class we have described. 
We must not look for Florence Nightingales and Miss 
Marshes among that company of the " fast." 

Contrasted with the fast young lady, comes forth the 
prude, who sees harm in everything, and her friend the 
blue-stocking. You may know the prude by her stolid 
air of resistance to mankind in general, and by her patroniz- 
ing manner to her own sex. Her style of manner is, like 
the Austrian policy, repressive ; her style of conversation, 
reprehensive. She has started in life with an immense 
conceit of her own mental powers and moral attributes, of 
which the world in general is scarcely worthy. Her 
manner is indicative of this conviction ; and becomes 
accordingly, without her intending it, offensive, when she 
believes herself to be polite. 

The prude and the pedant are often firm friends, each 
adoring the other. The fast young lady deals largely in 
epithets : " Idiot, dolt, wretch, humbug," drop from her 
lips ; but the prude and her friend the blue-stocking 
permit themselves to use conventional phrases only ; their 
notion of conversation is that it be instructive, and, at the 
same time, mystifying, The young blue-stocking has, 
nevertheless, large views of the regeneration of society, and 
emancipation of woman from her degrading inferiority of 
social position. She speaks in measured phrase ; it is 
like listening to a book to hear her. She is wrapt up in 



270 



THE CARRIAGE OP LADIES. 



Tennyson and Browning. There is, in all this, a great aim 
at display, with a self-righteousness that is very unpleasing. 
Avoid, therefore, either extreme, and be convinced that an 
artless gaiety, tempered by refinement, always pleases. 
Every attempt to obtrude on a company subjects either to 
which they are indifferent, or of which they are ignorant, 
is in bad taste. 

" Man should be taught as though you taught him not, 
And things unknown proposed as things forgot." 

It was well said by a late eminent barrister, that literature 
in ladies should be what onions ought to be in cookery ; 
you should perceive the flavour, but not detect the thing 
itself. 

The bearing of married women should so far differ from 
that of the unmarried, that there should be greater quiet- 
ness and dignity ; a more close adherence to forms ; and 
an obvious, as well as a real abandonment of the admira- 
tion which has been received before marriage. All flirta- 
tion, however it may be countenanced by the present 
custom of society, should be sternly and for ever put aside. 
There is no reason for conversation to be less lively, or 
society less agreeable ; it is, indeed, likely to be more so, 
if flattered vanity, which may be wounded at any moment, 
interposes, not to mar but to enhance enjoyment. If a 
young married woman wishes to be respected, and there- 
fore happy in life, there should be a quiet propriety of 
manner, a dignity towards the male sex, which cannot be 
mistaken in her for prudery, since it is consistent with her 
position and her ties. She should change her tone, if that 
has been " fast ; " she should not put herself on a level 
with young unmarried women of 'her own age, but should 
influence and even lead her youthful acquaintance into 
that style of behaviour which is doubtless much esteemed 
by men of good taste. She should rather discountenance 
the fast, but has no need to copy or to bring forward the 
prude and the blue-stocking. And it behoves married 



THE MABRIED WOMAN. 



271 



Women to be more especially guarded and sensible in their 
conduct, when it is remembered how rapidly the demorali- 
zation introduced, perhaps, by our contiguity with France, 
is extending in every class. Formerly, among trades-people 
and professional men, separations and divorces were almost 
unheard of ; the vices that lead to them were looked on 
with horror by the middle classes. But now, the school- 
master runs away with the wife of his apothecary ; the 
brewer does the fashionable with the attorney's wife ; the 
baker intrigues with the green-grocer's hitherto worthy 
helpmate. Never, in any time, have the seeds of vice been 
so scattered by the gale from one condition of social life to 
another; and the infection of this appalling wickedness 
has been spreading, as the Divorce Court proves, silently, 
but widely, for some years. 

Every woman, however humble, even however poor, may 
do one thing for society. She may set an example : but 
we call loudly on those in the higher walks of life to do 
so, and to wipe away the reproach on Israel. 

In being introduced to a new acquaintance, there should 
be more dignity and a little more distance in the manner 
of the married woman than that of the single lady. 

"When she visits, in a morning call, let her neither hurry 
off, after a few moments of empty talk ; nor stay too long, 
never considering the convenience of her who receives her. 
She should walk gently down stairs, not talking loud to 
any one as she goes. Never let her apologize for not 
having called sooner, unless positively necessary ; such 
apologies are vastly like affronts. 

In receiving guests the English lady has much to learn 
from the French hostess. Many a time has the visitor in 
England been met with symptoms of hurry and preoccupa- 
tion, remarkably embarrassing to those who call ; or the 
carriage is announced directly after her arrival, and the 
lady of the house looks as if she thought her friend ought 
to go. Some under-bred ladies, in country towns, look out 
of the window half the time, or put tidy their work-boxes, 



272 



THE CARRIAGE OF LADIES. 



making you feel that you are secondary. As an immutable 
law of hospitality and good-breeding, a guest should always 
be the first and sole object when alone with you. 

It is one advantage of the French system of having a 
day on which to receive morning callers, that the lady of 
the house is ready, and willing to let so many idlers into 
her drawing-room. In no respect does the French lady 
shine so much as in her reception of those who, as she 
appears to think, " do her the honour " to enter her house. 
It is this that makes the difference. In England we seem 
to think we do people an honour in letting them cross our 
thresholds and come up our stairs. The French lady 
advances to meet the ladies, but waits to receive the gentle- 
men. She has a chair ready for every one, and the rooms 
of the fashionable are often full to crowding, yet no one is 
neglected. Something civil (and "civil with ease"), ap- 
propriate, well-turned, and often gracefully kind, is said to 
every one. The stranger or foreigner is not left out of the 
conversation previously going on ; he or she is not made 
to feel " you are not one of us ; the sooner you go the 
better." The conversation is soon general, though without 
introductions. Having said all you wish, and stayed the 
usual time, you rise, and the lady follows you to the door, 
where a servant is waiting to conduct you down stairs and 
call your carnage into the cour. This agreeable accueil 
forms a strong contrast to the ennui which a mal-a-propos 
visit often seems to produce in a London drawing-room, 
and the evident despatch with which a lady often rings the 
bell to let you out, often sitting down and resuming a con- 
versation before you are half across the old and spacious 
apartment. 

In regard to the physical carriage of women, the graces 
of an upright form, of elegant and gentle movements, and 
of the desirable medium between stiffness and lounging, are 
desirable both for married and single. The same rules 
and recommendations are applicable to both. Control 
over the countenance is a part of manners. As a lady 



PHYSICAL CAEPJAGE. 



273 



enters a drawing-room, she should look for the mistress of 
the house, speaking first to her. Her face should wear a 
smile ; she should not rush in head-foremost ; a graceful 
bearing, a light step, an elegant bend to common acquaint- 
ance, a cordial pressure, not shaking, of the hand extended 
to her, are all requisite to a lady. Let her sink gently into 
a chair, and, on formal occasions, retain her upright posi- 
tion ; neither lounge nor sit timorously on the edge of her 
seat. Her feet should scarcely be shown, and not crossed. 
She must avoid sitting stiffly, as if a ramrod were introduced 
within the dress behind, or stooping. Excepting a very 
small and costly parasol, it is not now usual to bring those 
articles into a room. An elegantly-worked handkerchief is 
carried in the hand, but not displayed so muck as at din- 
ner parties. A lady should conquer a habit of breathing 
hard, or coming in very hot, or even looking very blue 
and shivery. Anything that detracts from the pleasure of 
society is in bad taste. 

In walking the feet should be moderately turned out, the 
steps should be equal, firm, and light. A lady may be 
known by her walk. The short, rapid steps, the shaking 
the body from side to side, or the very slow gait which 
many ladies consider genteel, are equally to be deprecated. 
Some persons are endowed with a natural grace that wants 
no teaching ; where it is not the case, the greatest care 
should be taken to engraft it in childhood, to have a master, 
not for dancing alone, but for the even more important 
attributes of the lady's carriage. To bow with grace, or 
to curtsey when required, to move across a room well, are 
points which strike the attention almost unconsciously to 
ourselves, and the neglect of which often provokes com- 
ment even on those in other respects well qualified to 
adorn society. 



2m 



PART II. 

THE INDIVIDUAL IN INDIVIDUAL RELATIONS. 



CHAPTER IX. 

IN PUBLIC. THE PROMENADE, ETC. 

So now, my dear Sir and my 1 dear Madam, you are dressed, 
you have your accomplishments ready for use, you know 
how to carry yourself, what good habits to attend to, what 
bad ones to avoid ; you have made a full examination of 
yourself ; you feel confident that you are " a complete gen- 
tleman," or "a charming woman you have had lunch, 
you feel comfortable and happy, and you say to yourself, 
" Let me go out and put these good rules into practice." 

So then, if you are a man, you consult nobody but your 
watch ; if you are a young lady, you consult mamma, and 
both having obtained the requisite assent, you, sir, issue 
forth with your watch, and you, mademoiselle, with your 
chaperon, and you go to meet your acquaintance in the 
walk. Where the said walk may be is little matter. In 
the days of the Stuarts, you would have repaired to the 
transepts of old St. Paul's, then the fashionable promenade. 
In a later reign you would have turned your steps to the 
" Mall," and met Beau Tibbs there in all his glory. Now, 
if you live in London, you make for Rotten Row ; if in a 
watering-place, for the Promenade or the Parade, or bref, 
whatever may be the spot chosen for the gay peacocks to 
strut in. 
274 



THE SALUTE. 



275 



You have not been there two minutes before you meet 
somebody you know. But that is a very vague term ; for 
you may know people in almost a dozen different ways. 
First, then, you know them slightly, and wish to recognise 
them slightly. Your course is simple enough. If you are 
a lady, you have the privilege of recognising a gentleman. 
You wish to do so, because there is no reason that you 
should not be polite to him. So when you come quite near 
to him and see that he is looking at you, you bow slightly, 
and pass on. There are one or two things to be avoided 
even in this. You must not, however short-sighted, raise 
your glasses and stare at him through them before you bow ; 
but as it is very awkward for a lady to bow by mistake to 
a gentleman she does not know, you should look at him 
well before you come up to him. If you are a man, on the 
other hand, and you meet *a lady whom you know slightly, 
you must wait till she bows to you. You then lift your 
hat quite off your head with the hand, whichever it may 
be, which is farther from the person you meet. You lift 
it off your head, but that is all ; you have no need, as they 
do in France, to show the world the inside thereof ; so 
you immediately replace it. In making this salute, you 
bend your body slightly. If, which should rarely occur, 
you happen to be smoking, you take your cigar from your 
mouth with the other hand ; so too, if' you have your hands 
in your pockets, which I hope you will not, you take them 
out before bowing. To neglect these little observances 
would show a want of respect. 

But suppose it is a person whom you know rather more than 
slightly, and to whom you may speak. Well, then, no man 
may stop to speak to a lady until she stops to speak to him. 
The lady, in short, has the right in all cases to be friendly 
or distant. Women have not many rights ; let us grace- 
•fully concede the few that they possess. You raise your 
hat all the same, but you do not shake hands unless the 
lady puts out hers, which you may take as a sign of parti- 
cular good-will. In this case you must not stop long, but 



276 



THE PROMENADE, ETC. 



the lady again has the right to prolong the interview at 
pleasure. It is she, not you, who must make the move 
onwards. If she does this in the middle of a conversation, 
it is a proof that she is willing that you should join her, 
and if you have no absolute call to go your way, you ought 
to do so. But if she does so with a slight inclination, it is 
to dismiss you, and you must then again bow and again 
raise your hat. 

If, however, you are old acquaintance without any quar- 
rel between, you should, whether gentleman or lady, at once 
stop and give the hand and enter into conversation. The 
length of this conversation must depend on the place where 
you meet. If in the streets, it should be very short ; if in 
a regular promenade, it may be longer ; but as a rule, old 
friends do better to turn round and join forces. On the 
other hand, if you are walking with a man whom your lady 
friend does not know, you must not stop ; still less so, if 
she is walking with a lady or gentleman whom you do not 
know. If, however, a decided inclination is evinced by 
either to speak to the other, and you so stop, the stranger 
ought not to walk on, but to stop also, and it then behoves 
you to introduce him or her. Such an introduction is 
merely formal, and goes no farther. 

Lastly, let us suppose that you want to " cut" your 
acquaintance. fie ! Who invented the cut ? What demon 
put it into the head of man or woman to give this mute 
token of contempt or hatred ? I do not know, but I do 
know that in modern civilised life, as it goes, the cut is a 
great institution. The finest specimen of it which we have 
on record is that of Beau Brummell and George rv. These 
two devoted friends had quarrelled, as devoted friends are 
wont to do, and when they met again, George, then Prince, 
was walking up St. James' Street on the arm of some com- 
panion, and Brummell, dressed to perfection, was coming* 
down it on that of another. The two companions happened 
to know one another, and all four stopped. George the 
Prince was determined to ignore George the Beau's exist- 



THE CUT. 



277 



ence, and talked to his companion without appearing to see 
him. George the Beau expected this, but was still morti- 
fied. They all bowed and moved away ; but before the 
Prince was out of hearing, Brummell said to his companion 
in a loud voice, " Who's your fat friend ?" It is well known 
that the Kegent grieved at that time most bitterly over his 
growing corpulency, and the Beau was avenged. 

But my advice to anybody who wishes to cut an ac- 
quaintance is, most emphatically, Don't. In the first place, 
it is vulgar, and a custom which the vulgar affect. It is 
pretentious, and seems to say, " You are not good enough 
for me to know." All pretension is vulgar. In the next 
place, it does the cutter as much injury as the. cuttee. The 
latter, if worthless, revenges himself by denouncing the 
former as stuck up, impolite, ill-bred ; if himself well-bred, 
he says nothing about it, but inwardly condemns and de- 
spises you. Now, in a world where love is at a premium, 
and even respect is not cheap, it is a pity to add, by foolish 
pride, to the number of those who dislike you ; but, if there 
were no other consideration, it is extremely unchristian, to 
say the least of it. It is a giving of offence ; and woe to 
him by whom offences come. It is the consequence either 
of pride or of judging your neighbour, both of which are 
bad faults. Lastly, it raises up for ever between two people 
a barrier which neither years nor regret can surmount. 
It is a silent but desperate quarrel, but, unlike other quar- 
rels, it is never followed by a reconciliation. The Christian 
law used to be, " If you have aught against your brother, 
go and expostulate with him." The modern social law — 
not, however, the law of good society — makes an amend- 
ment : "Do not take the trouble to go to him — it will do 
no good — but cut him dead when you meet, and so get rid 
of him for ever." Yes, " dead !" Dead, indeed ; for all the 
love, all the forgiveness there might flow between you, he 
is as good as dead to you, and, what is more, you have 
killed him. 

But the cut is often a silly measure, and far too promptly 



278 



THE PROMENADE, ETC. 



resorted to. At Bath you have known the Simpkinses, and 
even been intimate with them, but in Town you take it into 
your head they are " inferior ;" you meet and cut them. 
Well, a fortnight later, you find that Lady So-and-so is 
particularly partial to the Simpkinses. " Do you know 
those charming girls f she asks, and how foolish you then 
feel. Or again, Captain Mactavish is your best and most 
amusing friend ; slander whispers in your ear, " Mactavish 
was cashiered for fraudulent transactions." You go out, 
happen to meet, and cut him dead. The next day the 
truth comes out. It is another Mactavish who was cashiered, 
and your friend is a model of honour. "What can you do ? 
You cannot tell him you made a mistake. It would then 
be his turn to take a high hand. " No, no !" says he, 
when you offer to renew the friendship, " if you could so 
soon believe evil of me, you are not the man for Mactavish. 
Besides, you cut me yesterday, and I can forgive everything 
but a cut." Or again, papa is alarmed at the attentions of 
young Montmorency. " A penniless boy making love to 
Matilda !" he cries indignantly, and orders the said Matilda 
and her mamma to cut him. Montmorency, in pique, runs 
off to Miss Smith, offers, and marries her. It is then dis- 
covered that Montmorency has a bachelor uncle whose 
whole fortune will come to him, and Matilda is miserable. 

But there are some cases in which a cut becomes the 
sole means of ridding one's-self of annoyance, and with 
young ladies especially so. A girl has no other means of 
escaping from the familiarity of a pushing and thick-skinned 
man. She cannot always be certain that the people intro- 
duced to her are gentlemen ; pleased with them at first, 
she gives them some encouragement, till some occasion or 
other lays bare the true character of her new acquaintance. 
What is she to do 1 He requires so little to encourage him, 
that even a recognition would be sufficient to bring him on. 
She has nothing left but to cut him dead. The cut, 
however, should be positively the last resource. There are 
many ways, less offensive and more dignified, of showing 



THE CUT. 



279 



that you do not wish for intimacy ; the stiff bow without 
a smile is enough to show a man of any perception that he 
need not make farther advances ; and as for cutting people 
of real or imaginary inferiority, it is the worst of vulgarity. 
We laugh at the silly pride of the small dressmaker who 
declines to go through the kitchen ; " Not accustomed to 
associate with menials," she tells you, and knocks at the 
front door ; we smile at the costermonger who cannot 
lower himself to recognise the crossing-sweeper ; and how 
absurd to those of a higher class than our own must the 
Smiths, whose father was a physician, appear, when they 
cut the Simpkinses, whose progenitor is only a surgeon, 
and so on. But if you have once known people you 
should always know them, if they have not done anything 
to merit indignation. If you have once been familiar with 
the Simpkinses, you are not only inconsistent and vulgar, 
but you accuse yourself of former want of perception, if 
now you discover that they are too low for you to know. 

But, if a cut must be made, let it be done with as little 
offensiveness as possible. Let the miserable culprit not be 
tortured to death, or broken in the social wheel, like a 
Damiens, however treasonable his offence. Never, on any 
account, allow him to speak to you, and then staring him 
in the face, exclaim, " Sir, I do not know you ! " or, as some 
people, trying to make rudeness elegant, would say, " Sir, I 
have not the honour of your acquaintance nor behead 
him with the fixed stare ; but rather let him see that you 
have noticed his approach, and then turn your head away. 
If he is thick-skinned or daring enough to come up to you 
after that, bow to him stiffly and pass on. In this way 
you avoid insolence, and cause less of that destroyer of 
good manners — confusion. 

There are some definite rules for cutting. A gentleman 
must never cut a lady under any circumstances. An 
unmarried lady should never cut a married one. A ser- 
vant of whatever class — for there are servants up to 
royalty itself — should never cut his master ; near relations 



THE PROMENADE, ETC. 



should never cut one another at all; and a clergyman 
should never cut anybody, because it is at best an 
unchristian action. Perhaps it may be added that a 
superior should never cut his inferior in rank ; he has 
many other ways of annihilating him. Certainly it may 
be laid down that people holding temporary official rela- 
tions must waive their private animosities, and that two 
doctors, for instance, however much opposed to one another, 
should never introduce the cut over the bed of a patient. 

I pass now to a much pleasanter theme, that of saluta- 
tion. I know not when men first discovered that some 
sign was necessary to show their good-will to one another. 
Hatred, the ugliest of all the demons (and they are not 
renowned for beauty), took a reserved seat early in the his- 
tory of the world, and the children of Cain and Seth, if 
they ever met, must have found it necessary to hold out 
some human flag of truce. What this may have been we 
have no records to prove, but it is certain that prostration, 
which made a man helpless for the moment, was a very 
early form of salutation, and one that has not yet gone out, 
for kneeling, which is only a simpler form of it, is still pre- 
served in our courts. But this was too awkward a practice 
for everyday life, especially when men gathered into cities 
and met their fellow-creatures daily in large numbers. 
Fancy a member of Parliament bobbing down on his 
" marrow-bones" whenever he met a constituent, or a 
clergyman wearing the knees of his black " limb-covers" 
into shining patches as he walked the parish and met Tim 
Miles and George Giles at every corner. The question then 
arose how to show the same good-will without the same 
inconvenience, and which of the senses should be employed 
in it. We looked at the brute creation, which, in its gift of 
instinct, seemed to have as it were a direct revelation for 
such things, but found little counsel. Dogs wagged their 
tails, but their masters had none to wag, except indeed among 
the Niam-Niam, and even with them it is doubtful whether 
the necessary pliability exists. Horses know their friends by 



ABOUT SALUTATION. 281 

the smell, and Mr. Rarey tells us that we need never fear 
a horse which has sniffed us all over, for the simple reason 
that it will no longer fear us. But though it is said you 
may tell a Chinaman, as the ancients told an Iberian, par 
son odeur, and though you may certainly recognise a mo- 
dern fop by his " smelling of musk and insolence," yet it 
does not appear that there is any perfume by which the 
human being can assure you of his good intentions. The 
prostration was therefore probably first followed by a deep 
inclination of the body, which we preserve faintly enough 
in our modern bow, and which was the recognised form of 
worship in several eastern countries. Another modification 
of prostration, which was preserved in this country between 
servants and masters till the end of the seventeenth century, 
was that of " making a knee," as Ben Jonson call it, which 
was nothing more than slightly bending one leg and so 
lowering the body. But these forms were too much for some 
people and too little for others. The children of this world 
soon discovered that they were not all children alike, and 
made early a marked distinction of persons. The salute fit 
for a chieftain was much too good for a serf, and the serf 
himself was not going to make a knee to a brother serf, 
however much he liked him. In fact, it became necessary 
to distinguish between the amount of respect due to posi- 
tion (for character soon lost its due recognition), and the 
amount of cordiality due to friendship. Thus some form 
of •inclination remained in use for the salute of respect, and 
thus the eye was the sense there employed. The principle 
of respect was brought variously into practice, but in no 
way so prominently as that of baring some part of the 
body, thereby putting the saluter to a temporary inconveni- 
ence, and laying him open to the attack of the saluted. In 
one country the shoes were taken off, in another the head- 
gear, though St. Paul's philosophic, if not very gallant, dis- 
tinction relative to the honour of a man lying in his head, 
and that of a woman elsewhere, would seem to make the 
Orientals more consistent in keeping their turbans on and 
2n 



282 



THE PROMENADE, ETC. 



taking off their slippers. In no country, however, do we hear 
of women taking their bonnets off, as a salute, though in some 
to unveil the face was a mark of great reverence. That, of 
course, would depend on whether it was a pretty face or not ; 
but however this may be, the forms of salutation which have 
been retained among European nations are much the same ; 
the bow, namely, as a relic of prostration, and baring the 
head, among men ; while among women the prostration was 
kept up to a much later date, and the curtsey, in which the 
knees were bowed, is not yet quite vanished from the modesty 
of our land. Maid-servants and country-wives retain it still. 

But when we come to cordiality we find another sense 
brought into action. Words were known to be concealers 
of thought, so that the sense of hearing was out of the 
question, while smelling and tasting were unanimously voted 
brutish ; and those poets who talk about " tasting the honey 
of her lips," are fitted to be laureates in the cannibal islands 
rather than in the British kingdoms. There remained then 
the sense of touch, which, if not the most delicate, is one 
which the human race particularly depend on, as our blind 
children learn to know even colours thereby. Besides, 
owing to the absence of fur in our race, the sense of touch 
is more acute in us than in any other animals. 

Well, on the touch-and-know principle, some races im- 
mediately undertook to conduce to each other's comfort as 
a token of cordiality. In the frost-bitten regions of Lap- 
land, for instance, it is the fashion to run up to your friend 
and rub his nose with yours. It is a mute expression of the 
wish that his proboscis may not drop off some cold morn- 
ing ; and indeed this custom must assist in preserving that 
graceful feature from the effects of frost, so that the man 
with the largest acquaintance is also likely to have the 
largest nose. In Southern Africa again, where the feet 
get terribly dry from the heat of the soil, it is the custom 
to rub toes ; and in some countiy or other, the height of 
elegance is to moisten the hand in the most natural manner, 
and smear your friend's face with it. 



THE KISS. 



283 



These customs, however, must have had a somewhat 
local appreciation, and have not received general approba- 
tion. There are now two recognised modes of cordial salu- 
tation — the kiss and the shake of the hand. Whether 
kissing was known in Paradise, as Byron, who had some 
experience of it (kissing, I mean, not Paradise), assures us : 

" One remnant of Paradise still is on earth, 
And Eden revives in the first kiss of love ;" 

we cannot stop to investigate, but that it was a very early 
discovery, those who read their Bibles may find out. It is 
a beautiful custom, an angelic custom ; I say it without 
blushing, because it was originally, and in many countries 
is — let us hope even in England — the most innocent thing 
in the world. Certainly, about the period of our own era, 
the " kiss of peace" was a mark of love between men, 
though in some cases it was made to serve the deadliest 
ends. It is still in use between men in France and Ger- 
many. The parent kisses his grown-up son on the fore- 
head ; friends press their lips to others' cheeks ; brothers 
throw their arms round one another's necks and embrace 
like lovers. Alack and alas ! for our stiff humanity. Here 
in England it is reserved for children and girls, and for 
Minnie to stop my lips with when I am going to scold her. 
Well, it is a beautiful old custom, all the same, and if we 
were not so wicked in this nineteenth century, we should 
have more of it. In the days of good Queen Bess it was 
the height of politeness to kiss your neighbour's wife, and 
our grandfathers tell us that on entering a room they kissed 
all the women present as a matter of course. This privi-. 
lege is reserved now for Scotch cousins, who make a very 
free use of it. But, alas ! this beautiful symbol of pure af- 
fection, which sent a thrill from warm lips through all the 
frame, is now become a matter of almost shame to us. It is 
a deed to be done behind the door, as Horace Smith hints. 

" Sydney Morgan was playing the organ, 
While behind the vestry door 
Horace Twiss was snatching a kiss 
From the lips of Hannah Moore." 



284 



THE PROMENADE, ETC. 



Poor Hannah Moore ! how the very thought must have 
shrivelled her up. 

The kiss of mere respect was made on the hand, a good 
old custom still retained in Germany, and among a few old 
beaux at home. Whether it was pure respect which in- 
duced Leicester often to kiss the Virgin Queen on her lips, 
" which," we are told, " she took right heartily," I cannot 
say ; but at all events in this day, the kissing of the lips is 
reserved for lovers, and should scarcely be performed in 
public. But the kiss of friendship and relationship on the 
cheeks or forehead is still kept up a little, and might be 
much more common. I like to see a young man kiss his 
mother on her wrinkled brow ; it shows " there is no hum- 
bug about him." I like to see sisters kiss, and old friends 
when they meet again. But I may like what I like. The 
world is against me, and as it is a delicate subject I will 
say no more on it, save only this, — As a general rule, this 
act of affection is excluded from public eyes in this country, 
and there are people who are ashamed even to kiss a 
brother or father on board the steamer which is to take 
him away for some ten or twenty years. But then there 
are people in England who are ashamed of showing any 
feeling, however natural, however pure. This is a matter 
in which I would not have etiquette interfere. Let the 
world say it is rustic, or even vulgar, to kiss your friends on 
the platform of a railway, before they start or when they 
arrive. It is never vulgar to be loving, and love that is 
real love will show itself, though there were ten Acts of 
Parliament against it. 

" A cold hand and a warm heart " is an old saw, which 
may be true for the temperature of the skin, but is certainly 
not so for the mode of pressing it. A warm heart, I am 
persuaded, gives a warm shake of the hand, and a man 
must be a hypocrite, who can shake yours heartily, while 
he hates you. The hand is after all the most natural limb 
to salute with. Next to those of the lips, the nerves of 
touch are most highly developed in the fingers, which may 



HAND AND HEART. 



285 



be accounted for by the perpetual friction and irritation to 
which they are subjected, for we know that those portions 
of the skin are the most ticklish which undergo the most 
friction. However this may be, the hand is the most 
convenient member to salute with. The toe-rubbing pro- 
cess, for instance, must subject one to the risk of toppling 
over in any but a dignified manner ; " making a knee " 
was liable to be followed by breaking a nose, if the balance 
were not carefully preserved, and as for the total prostra- 
tion system, I feel convinced that it must have been given 
up by common consent after dinner, and by corpulent per- 
sonages. But the charm of the hand, as a saluting member, 
lies in the fact of its grasping power, which enables the 
shaker to vary the salute at pleasure. The freemasons 
well know this, and though they begin the mysterious salute 
with signs for the eye, they are rarely satisfied till they 
have followed them up by the grasp, which varies for 
almost every grade, for apprentice, master, royal arch, 
knight templar, and all their other absurdities. My worthy 
masons, do not suppose that you possess a monopoly of this 
art. There is as cunning a freemasonry in all society, and 
the mode of taking, grasping, and shaking the hand, varies 
as much according to circumstances, and even more, than 
your knuckling system. 

First, there is the case where two hands simply take hold 
of one another. This is the mode of very shy people, and 
of two lovers parting in tears ; but then in the one case the 
hold is brief, in the other continued. Next, there is the 
case where one hand is laid clammily in the other, which 
slightly presses the fingers, not going down to the palm. 
This is a favourite mode with ladies, especially young- 
ladies, towards slight acquaintance ; but when my heart 
flutters a little for Mariana's smile, I should be piqued in- 
deed, nay, shocked, if there were nothing more than fingers 
laid in my hand, no responsive thumb to complete the 
manoeuvre, and when Sybilla told me she could not love 
me, and when she would not listen, but hurried away up 



286 



THE PKOMENADE, ETC. 



the terrace steps, and turned to give me the last — last 
shake of a hand, I have never touched again, I cannot tell 
you what of despair she saved me in the friendly warmth 
■ — I do not say affection — with which she wrung my hand 
that passionately clung round hers. Ah ! Sybilla, better 
have left that hand with me, have given it me for ever, 
than to the wealthy wig-wearing, rouged and powdered 
bear, to whom they sold you afterwards. 

Next, there is the terribly genteel salute of the underbred 
man, who with a smirk on his face, just touches the tips of 
your fingers, as if they were made of glass ; there is the 
blunt honest shake of the rough, who lays out his hand with 
the palm open and the heart in the hollow of it, stretches 
it well out, and shakes and rattles the one you put into it; 
there is the pouncing style of him who affects but does not 
feel cordiality, who brings the angle between thumb and 
finger down upon you like gaping shears ; there is the 
hailing style of the indifferent man who seems to say to 
your hand, " Come and be shaken ;" there is the style of 
the man who gives your hand one toss, as if he were ring- 
ing the dinner-bell ; and another bell-ringing style is that 
of milady, who shakes her own hand from the wrist with 
a neat fine little movement, and does not care whether 
yours shakes in it or not ; there is genius who clasps your 
hand in both of his and beams into your face ; and there 
is love who seizes it to press it tighter and more tightly, 
and sends his whole soul through the fingers. 

But the styles are infinite ; there is the mesmeric style 
where the shaker seems to make a pass down you before 
getting at your hand ; there is papa's style, coming down 
with an open-hand smack, that you may hear half the 
length of Parliament Street ; there is the solemn style, 
where the elbow is tucked into the side, like the wing of 
a trussed fowl, and the long fingers are extended with the 
thumb in close attendance ; there is the hearty double- 
knock style of three rapid shakes ; there is the melancholy 
style, where the hand is heaved up once or twice slowly and 



HAND-SHAKING. 



287 



lowered despairingly ; there is the adulatory style, where it 
is raised towards the bent head as if to be inspected ; there 
is the hail-fellow style, where the arm is stretched out side- 
ways, and the eyes say, " There's my hand, old boy ! " Then 
of styles to be always avoided, there is the swinging style, 
where your arm is tossed from side to side ; there is the 
wrenching style, by which your knuckles are made to ache 
for five minutes after; and there is the condescending style, 
where two fingers are held out to you as a great honour. 
But, the best style of all, me judice, is the hearty single 
clasp, full-handed, warm, momentary, just shaken enough 
to make the gentle grasp well felt but not painful. 

The etiquette of hand-shaking is simple. A man has no 
right to take a lady's hand till it is offered. It were a 
robbery which she would punish. He has even less right 
to pinch or to retain it. Two ladies shake hands gently and 
softly. A young lady gives her hand, but does not shake 
a gentleman's, unless she is his friend. A lady should 
always rise to give her hand ; a gentleman, of course, never 
dares do so seated. On introduction in a room, a married 
lady generally offers her hand, a young lady not ; in a ball- 
room, where the introduction is to dancing, not to friend- 
ship, you never shake hands ; and as a general rule, an 
introduction is not followed by shaking hands, only by a bow. 
It may perhaps be laid down, that the more public the 
place of introduction, the less hand-shaking takes place ; 
but if the introduction be particular, if it be accompanied 
by personal recommendation, such as, "I want you to know 
my friend Jones," or, if Jones comes with a letter of pre- 
sentation, then you give Jones your hand, and warmly too. 
Lastly, it is the privilege of a superior to offer or withhold 
his or her hand, so that an inferior should never put his 
forward first. 

There are other modes of salutation, which, being too 
familiar, are well avoided, such as clapping a man on the 
shoulder, digging him in the ribs, and so forth. The French 
rarely shake hands, and only with intimate friends. They 



288 



THE PROMENADE, ETC. 



then give the left hand, because that is nearer the heart, 
la main du coeur. The most cordial way of shaking hands 
is to give both at once, but this presupposes a certain or 
uncertain amount of affection. 

When you meet a friend in the street, it must depend 
on the amount of familiarity whether you walk with him 
or not, but with a lady you must not walk unless invited 
either verbally or tacitly. A young and single man should 
never walk with a young lady in public places, unless 
especially asked to do so. How Sybilla's words thrilled 
through me, when she said, " Mamma, I am going to walk 

home with Mr. , if you have no objection." I had not 

proposed it, it was her own doing. No wonder I am a 
bachelor still, and she the Amy in Locksley Hall ! If you 
walk with a lady alone in a large town, particularly in 
London, you must offer her your arm ; elsewhere it is un- 
necessary, and even marked. 

In driving with ladies, a man must take the back seat 
of the carriage, and when it stops, jump out first and offer 
his hand to let them out. In your own carriage you 
always give the front seat to a visitor, if you are a man, 
but a lady leaves the back seat for a gentleman. 

In railway travelling you should not open a conversation 
with a lady unknown to you, until she makes some advance 
towards it. On the other hand, it is polite to speak to a 
gentleman. If, however, his answers be curt, and he evinces 
a desire to be quiet, do not pursue the conversation. On 
your part, if addressed in a railway carriage, you should 
always reply politely. If you have a newspaper, and others 
have not, you should offer it to the person nearest to you. 
An acquaintance begun on a railway may sometimes go 
farther, but, as a general rule, it terminates when one of 
the parties leaves the carriage. A Frenchman always takes 
off his hat in a carriage where there are ladies, whether a 
private or public one. This is a politeness which really 
well-bred Englishmen imitate. If you go in an omnibus 
(and there is no reason why a gentleman should not do so), 



IN PUBLIC CONVEYANCES. 



289 



it is well to avoid conversation, but 4f you enter into it, 
beware of inflammatory subjects. An acquaintance of mine 
once talked politics to a radical in an omnibus. The two 
got heated, and more heated, and my acquaintance — for he 
was no friend, I assure you — ended by driving'his opponent's 
head through the window of the vehicle. It" was agreeable 
— very — to see his name next day in the polices-reports. 



V 



CHAPTER X. 

IN PRIVATE. VISITS, INTRODUCTIONS, ETC, 

There are many great men who go unrewarded for the 
services they render to humanity. Nay, even their names 
are lost, while we daily bless their inventions. One of these 
is he, if it was not a lady, who introduced the use of visit- 
ing cards. In days of yore a slate or a book was kept, and 
you wrote your name on it. But then that could only be 
done when your acquaintance was " not at home." To the 
French is due the practice of making the delivery of a card 
serve the purpose of the appearance of the individual, and 
with those who have a large acquaintance this custom is 
becoming very common in large towns. 

The visit or call is, however, a much better institution 
than is generally supposed. It has its drawbacks. It wastes 
much time ; it necessitates much small talk. It obliges one 
to dress on the chance of finding a friend at home ; but for 
all this it is almost the only means of making an acquaint- 
ance ripen into a friendship. In the visit all the strain, 
which general society somehow necessitates, is thrown off. 
A man receives you in his rooms cordially, and makes you 
welcome, not to a stiff dinner, but an easy-chair and con- 
versation. A lady, who in the ball-room or party has been 
compelled to limit her conversation, can here speak more 
freely. The talk can descend from generalities to personal 
inquiries, and need I say that if you wish to know a young 
lady truly, you must see her at home, and by daylight. 

The main points to be observed about visits are the pro- 
290 



LETTEES OF INTRODUCTION. 291 

per occasions and the proper hours. Now, between actual 
friends there is little need of etiquette in these respects. A 
friendly visit may be made at any time, on any occasion. 
Trne, yon are more welcome when the business of the day 
is over, in the afternoon rather than the morning, and you 
must, even as a friend, avoid calling at meal-times. But, 
on the other hand, many people receive visits in the evening 
— another French custom — and certainly this is the best 
time to make them. 

As however, during the season, you have but a slight 
chance of finding your friends at home in the evening, 
another custom has been imported from France into the 
best circles of English society, that, namely, of fixing a day 
in the week on which to receive evening visitors without 
the ceremony of a party. The visit may then last from 
one to two hours, and be made either in morning or even- 
ing dress, the latter being the better. However, this custom 
is not yet a common one, but I beg to recommend it to those 
who wish to have friends as well as mere acquaintance. 

The principal class of visits, then, is those of ceremony. 
The occasions for these are — with letters of introduction, 
after certain parties, and to condole or congratulate. 

In the first case, letters are rarely if ever given to per- 
sons in Town. The residence in town is presumed to be 
transitory, and letters of introduction are only addressed to 
permanent residents. On the other hand, they are neces- 
sary in the country, particularly when a family take up 
their residence in a district, and wish to enter the best 
society of the place. In this last case the inhabitants 
always call first on the new-comer, unless he brings a letter 
of introduction, when he is the first to call, but instead of 
going in, leaves it with a card or cards, and waits till this 
formal visit is returned. In returning a visit made with a 
letter it is necessary to go in if the family is at home. " A 
letter of introduction," says La Fontaine, " is a draft at 
sight, and you must cash it." In large towns there is no 
such custom. It would be impossible for the residents to 



292 



VISITS, INTRODUCTIONS, ETC. 



call on every new comer, and half of the new arrivals might 
be people whose acquaintance they would not wish to im- 
prove. If, however, you take a letter of introduction with 
any special object, whether of business or of a private or 
particular character, you are right to send in the letter 
with your card, and ask for admission. Such letters 
should only be given by actual friends of the persons 
addressed, and to actual friends of their own. Never, if 
you are wise, give a letter to a person whom you do not 
know, nor address one to one whom you know slightly. 
The letter of introduction, if actually given to its bearer, 
should be left open, that he may not incur the fate of the 
Persian messenger, who brought tablets of introduction 
recommending the new acquaintance to cut his head off. 
A letter of this kind must therefore be carefully worded, 
stating in full the name of the person introduced, but with 
as few remarks about him as possible. It is generally 
sufficient to say that he is a friend of yours, whom you 
trust your other friend will receive with attention, &c. In 
travelling it is well to have as many letters as possible, but 
not to pin your faith on them. In foreign towns it is the 
custom for the new comer to call on the residents first, just 
the reverse of ours. 

Ceremonial visits must be made the day after a ball, 
when it will suffice to leave a card ; within a day or two 
after a dinner party, when you ought to make the visit 
personally, unless the dinner was a semi-official one, such 
as the Lord Mayor's ; and within a week of a small party, 
when the call should certainly be made in person. . All 
these visits should be short, lasting from twenty minutes 
to half-an-hour at the most. There is one species of " bore" 
more detestable than any other — the man, namely, who 
comes and sits in your drawing-room for an hour or two, 
preventing you from going out to make your own calls, or 
interrupting the calls of others. It is proper when you 
have been some time at a visit, and another caller is an- 
nounced, to rise and leave, not indeed immediately, as if 



VISITS OF CEREMONY. 



293 



you shunned the new arrival, but after a moment or two. 
In other cases, when you doubt when to take your leave, 
you must not look at your watch, but wait till there is a 
lull in the conversation. 

Visits of condolence and congratulation must be made 
about a week after the event. If you are intimate with 
the person on whom you call, you may ask in the first 
case for admission ; if not, it is better only to leave a card, 
and make your " kind inquiries" of the servant, who is 
generally primed in what manner to answer them. In 
visits of congratulation you should always go in, and be 
hearty in your congratulations. Visits of condolence are 
terrible inflictions to both receiver and giver, but they may 
be made less so by avoiding, as much as consistent with 
sympathy, any allusion to the past. The receiver does well 
to abstain from tears. A lady of my acquaintance, who had 
lost her husband, was receiving such a visit in her best crape. 
She wept profusely for some time upon the best of broad- 
hemmed cambric handkerchiefs, and then turning to her 
visitor said : "lam sure you will be glad to hear that Mr. 

B has left me most comfortably provided for." Hinc 

illce lacrymce. Perhaps they would have been more sincere 
if he had left her without a penny. At the same time, if 
you have not sympathy and heart enough to pump up a 
little condolence, you will do better to avoid it, but take 
care that your conversation is not too gay. Whatever you 
may feel, you must respect the sorrows of others. 

On marriage, cards are sent round to such people as you 
wish to keep among your acquaintance, and it is then their 
part to call first on the young couple, when within distance. 

I now come to a few hints about calling in general ; and 
first as to the time thereof. In London, the limits of calling 
hours are fixed, namely, from three to six, but in the coun- 
try people are sometimes odious enough to call in the morn- 
ing before lunch. This should not be done even by intimate 
friends. Everybody has, or ought to have, his or her proper 
occupation in the morning, and a caller will then sometimes 



294 



VISITS, INTRODUCTIONS, ETC. 



find the lady of the house unprepared. It is necessary 
before calling to ascertain the hours at which your friends 
lunch and dine, and not to call at these. A ceremonial call 
from a slight acquaintance ought to be returned the next 
day, or at longest within three days, unless the distance be 
great. In the same way, if a stranger comes to stay at the 
house of a friend, in the country, or in small country towns, 
every resident ought to call on him or her, even if she be a 
young lady, as soon as possible after the arrival. These 
calls should be made in person, and returned the next day. 

The card is the next point. It should be perfectly 
simple. A lady's card is larger than a gentleman's. The 
former may be glazed, the latter not. The name, with a 
simple " Mr." or " Mrs." before it is sufficient, except in 
the case of acknowledged rank, as " The Earl of Ducie," 
" Colonel Marjoribanks," " The Hon. Mrs. Petre," and so 
forth. All merely honorary titles or designations of posi- 
tion or office should be left out, except in cards destined for 
purely official visits. Thus our ambassador at Paris returns 
official visits with a card thus : " L'Ambassadeur de Sa 
Majeste" Britannique," but those of acquaintance with " Lord 
Cowley" simply. The address may be put in the corner of 
the card. The engraving should be in simple Italian writing, 
not Gothic or Roman letters, very small and without any 
flourishes. Young men have adopted recently the foreign 
custom of having their Christian and surname printed with- 
out the " Mr." A young lady does not require a separate 
card as long as she is living with her mother ; her name is 
then engraved under her mother's, as : — 

Mrs. Jones Brownsmith. 
Miss Jones Brownsmith. 

Or if there be more than one daughter presented, thus : — 

Mrs. Jones Brownsmith. 
Hie Miss Jones Brownsmiths. . 

Which latter form can be defended as more idiomatic, if 
less grammatical, than " The Misses Jones Brownsmith ; " 



LEAVING CARDS. 



295 



but it is matter of little importance. I cannot enter here 
on a grammatical discussion, and the one form is as com- 
mon as the other. 

You will find a small card-case neater and more con- 
venient than a pocket-book ; and in leaving cards you must 
thus distribute them : one for the lady of the house and 
her daughters — the latter are sometimes represented by 
turning up the edge of the card — one for the master of the 
house, and if there be a grown-up son or near male relation 
staying in the house, one for him. But though cards are 
cheap, you must never leave more than three at a time at 
the same house. As married men have, or are supposed to 
have, too much to do to make ceremonial calls, it is the 
custom for a wife to take her husband's cards with her, and 
to leave one or two of them with her own. If, on your in- 
quiring for the lady of the house, the servant replies, " Mrs. 
So-and-so is not at home, but Miss So-and-so is," you should 
leave a card, because young ladies do not receive calls from 
gentlemen, unless they are very intimate with them, or have 
passed the rubicon of thirty summers. It must be remem- 
bered, too, that where there is a lady of the house, your 
call is to her, not to her husband, except on business. 

The Koman Assembly used to break up if thunder was 
heard, and in days of yore a family assembly was often broken 
up very hurriedly at the thunder of the knocker, one or other 
of the daughters exclaiming, " I am not dressed, mamma ! " 
and darting from the room ; but ladies ought to be dressed 
sufficiently to receive visitors in the afternoon. As nerves 
have grown more delicate of late years, it is perhaps a bless- 
ing that knockers have been superseded by bells. Where 
they remain, however, you should not rattle them fiercely, as a 
powdered Mercury does, nor should you pull a bell ferociously. 

Having entered the house, you take up with you to the 
drawing-room both hat and cane, but leave an umbrella in 
the hall. In France it is usual to leave a great- coat down 
stairs also, but as calls are made in this country in morning 
dress, it is not necessary to do so. 



296 



VISITS, nmtODTTCTIONS, ETC. 



It is not usual to introduce people at morning calls in 
large towns ; in the country it is sometimes done, not 
always. The law of introductions is, in fact, to force no 
one into an acquaintance. You should therefore ascertain 
beforehand whether it is agreeable to both to be introduced ; 
but if a lady or a superior expresses a wish to know a gen- 
tleman or an inferior, the latter two have no right to de- 
cline the honour. The introduction is of an inferior (which 
position a gentleman always holds to a lady) to the superior. 
You introduce Mr. Smith to Mrs. Jones, or Mr. A. to Lord B., 
not vice versd. In introducing two persons, it is not neces- 
sary to lead one of them up by the hand, but it is sufficient 
simply to precede them. Having thus brought the person 
to be introduced up to the one to whom he is to be pre- 
sented, it is the custom, even when the consent has been 
previously obtained, to say, with a slight bow to the supe- 
rior personage : " Will you allow me to introduce Mr. — f 
The person addressed replies by bowing to the one intro- 
duced, who also bows at the same time, while the introducer 
repeats their names, and then retires, leaving them to con- 
verse. Thus, for instance, in presenting Mr. Jones to Mrs. 
Smith, you will say, " Mrs. Smith, allow me to introduce 
Mr. Jones," and while they are engaged in bowing, you 
will murmur, " Mrs. Smith — Mr. Jones," and escape. If 
you have to present three or four people to said Mrs. Smith, 
it will suffice to utter their respective names with repeating 
that of the lady. 

A well-bred person always receives visitors at whatever 
time they may call, or whoever they may be ; but if you are 
occupied and cannot afford to be interrupted by a mere 
ceremony, you should instruct the servant beforehand to say 
that you are " not at home." This form has often been de- 
nounced as a falsehood, but a lie is no lie unless intended 
to deceive ; and since the words are universally understood 
to mean that you are engaged, it can be no harm to give 
such an order to a servant. But, on the other hand, if the 
servant once admits a visitor within the hall, you should 



COUNTRY- VISITING. 



297 



receive him at any inconvenience to yourself. A lady 
should never keep a visitor waiting more than a minute or 
two at the most, and if she cannot avoid doing so, must 
apologize on entering the drawing-room. 

In good society, a visitor, unless he is a complete stranger, 
does not wait to be invited to sit down, but takes a seat at 
once easily. A gentleman should never take the principal 
place in the room, nor, on the other hand, sit at an incon- 
venient distance from the lady of the house. He must 
hold his hat gracefully, not put it on a chair or table, or, if 
he wants to use both hands, must place it on the floor close 
to his chair. A well-bred lady, who is receiving two or 
three visitors at a time, pays equal attention to all, and 
attempts, as much as possible, to generalize the conversa- 
tion, turning to all in succession. The last arrival, however, 
receives a little more attention at first than the others, and 
the latter, to spare her embarrassment, should leave as soon 
as convenient. People who out-sit two or three parties of 
visitors, unless they have some particular motive for doing 
so, come under the denomination of " bores." A " bore" 
is a person who does not know when you have had enough 
of his or her company. Lastly, a lady never calls on a 
gentleman, unless professionally or officially. It is not only 
ill-bred, but positively improper to. do so. At the same 
time, there is a certain privilege in age, which makes it 
possible for an old bachelor like myself to receive a visit 
from any married lady whom I know very intimately, but 
such a call would certainly not be one of ceremony, and 
always presupposes a desire to consult me on some point or 
other. I should be guilty of shameful treachery, however, 
if I told any one that I had received such a visit, while I 
should certainly expect that my fair caller would let her 
husband know of it. 

A few words on visits to country houses before I quit 
this subject. Since an Englishman's house is his castle, no 
one, not even a near relation, has a right to invite himself 
to stay in it. It is not only taking a liberty to do so, but 
2 p 



298 



VISITS, INTRODUCTIONS, ETC. 



may prove to be very inconvenient. A general invitation, 
too, should never be acted on. It is often given without 
any intention of following it up ; but, if given, should be 
turned into a special one sooner or later. An invitation 
should specify the persons whom it includes, and the person 
invited should never presume to take with him any one not 
specified. If a gentleman cannot dispense with his valet, 
or a lady with her maid, they should write to ask leave to 
bring a servant ; but the means of your inviter, and the 
size of the house, should be taken into consideration, and 
it is better taste to dispense with a servant altogether. 
Children and horses are still more troublesome, and should 
never be taken without special mention made of them. It 
is equally bad taste to arrive with a waggonful of luggage, 
as that is naturally taken as a hint that you intend to stay 
a long time. The length of a country visit is indeed a 
difficult matter to decide, but in the present day people 
who receive much generally specify the length in their 
invitation — a plan which saves a great deal of trouble and 
doubt. But a custom not so commendable has lately come 
in of limiting the visits of acquaintance to two or three 
days. This may be pardonable where the guest lives at no 
great distance, but it is preposterous to expect a person 
to travel from London to Aberdeen for a stay of three 
nights. If, however, the length be not specified, and can- 
not easily be discovered, a week is the limit for a country 
visit, except at the house of a near relation or very old 
friend. It will, however, save trouble to yourself, if, soon 
after your arrival, you state that you are come " for a few 
days," and, if your host wishes you to make a longer visit, 
he will at once press you to do so. 

The main point in a country visit is to give as little 
trouble as possible, to conform to the habits of your enter- 
tainers, and never to be in the way. On this principle you 
will retire to your own occupations soon after breakfast, 
unless some arrangement has been made for passing the 
morning otherwise. If you have nothing to do, you may 



GRATUITIES TO SERVANTS. 



299 



be sure that your host has something to attend to in the 
morning. Another point of good-breeding is to be punctual 
at meals, for a host and hostess never sit down without 
their guest, and dinner may be getting cold. If, however, 
a guest should fail in this particular, a well-bred entertainer 
will not only take no notice of it, but attempt to set the 
late comer as much at his ease as possible. A host should 
provide amusement for his guests, and give up his time as 
much as possible to them ; but if he should be a profes- 
sional man or a student — an author, for instance — the guest 
should, at the commencement of the visit, insist that he 
will not allow him to interrupt his occupations, and the 
latter will set his visitor more at his ease by accepting this 
arrangement. In fact, the rule on which a host should act, 
is to make his visitors as much at home as possible ; that 
on which a visitor should act, is to interfere as little as 
possible with the domestic routine of the house. 

The worst part of a country visit is the necessity of 
giving gratuities to the servants, for a poor man may often 
find his visit cost him far more than if he had stayed at 
home. It is a custom which ought to be put down, be- 
cause a host who receives much should pay his own ser- 
vants for the extra trouble given. Some people have made 
bye-laws against it in their houses, but, like those about 
gratuities to railway-porters, they are seldom regarded. In 
a great house a man-servant expects gold, but a poor man 
should not be ashamed of offering him silver. It must 
depend on the length of the visit. The ladies give to the 
female, the gentlemen to the male servants. Would that I 
might see my friends without paying them for their hospi- 
tality in this indirect manner. 



PART III 
THE INDIVIDUAL IN COMPANY. 



CHAPTER XI. 

DINNERS, DINERS, AND DINNER-PARTIES. 

" Board !" cried a friend of mine one morning after a 
heavy dinner-party ; "it ought to be spelt 1 bored.' Never 
was a more solemn torture created for mankind than these 
odious dinner-parties. Call it society ! so you might call 
the Inquisition ; and I really have my doubts whether I 
should not be as happy between a couple of jailers, in- 
serting another and another wedge into the terrible boot, as 
between that garrulous old woman, who never waited for 
an answer, and that nervous young lady who never gave 
one, with a huge epergne between me and the rest of my 
fellow-creatures, an occasional glimpse of an irritable, solemn 
host at one end, and a most anxious hostess at the other. 
Upon my word, two whole hours of this, with the most 
laboured attempts at conversation all round, in a dark room 
with a servant perpetually thrusting something across my 
shoulder, exciting each time a fresh alarm of a shower of 
sauce or gravy ; stupidity worked up to silliness by bad 
champagne and worse port, and, when every one is wearied 
to death, a white-mouse ditty from the shy young lady, and 
another hour and a half of that frantically garrulous old 
one — really is this society V 

Perhaps not ; but that is no reason why a dinner-party, 
300 



THE MOEALITY OF DINNER-PARTIES. 



301 



properly selected and properly served, should not be as 
pleasant a meeting as any other. Indeed in England it 
ought to be pleasanter. The English are not famous for 
conversation; but it has been proved, that if you want 
them to talk, you must put something substantial into their 
mouths. One thing is certain, namely, that a dinner-party 
is the main institution of society in this country, and one 
which every class and every denomination recognises and 
permits. Many people denounce balls as wicked, and con- 
sider evening parties frivolous, but none see any harm in 
being well fed, and made to drink a certain or uncertain 
quantity of wine. It certainly has often surprised me, that 
at the very time when we are appealing to men of all posi- 
tions and all fortunes for subscriptions to relieve the desti- 
tute poor — when starving brethren are crawling in their 
filthy rags along the crowded pavement — when the home- 
less are crouching on our door-steps, and perishing of hunger 
but a few streets off, the noble philanthropist who presides 
at a meeting for their relief, and the bishop who calls for 
charity for them from the pulpit, should see no harm in 
encouraging, by their presence, the prodigality and Sybarite 
luxury of professional dinner-givers (for they make it almost 
a profession). It is certainly strange, that while Scripture 
is ransacked for texts inculcating almsgiving and the duty 
of feeding the hungry, those words of Solomon, which de- 
nounce the man who gives to the rich, should be so com- 
pletely overlooked. It is remarkable, that the man who 
can with difficulty be brought to give a ten-pound note to 
keep a hundred souls alive, should, of his own free-will, 
spend twice the sum once a week in feasting with dainties 
some dozen of his fellow-creatures,, who can scarcely get up 
the requisite amount of appetite to enjoy them. But, after 
all, it is not so strange, for men are selfish, and the good- 
will of a few rich is more highly prized than the gratitude 
of many poor. 

But let this pass, and let us console ourselves by the 
reflection that common sense, if no higher feeling, will in 



302 DINNERS, DINERS, AND DINNER-PARTIES. 

time simplify our social banquets ; and that charity, some 
fifty years hence, will see no hann, as it now would, in 
calling in the blind, the halt, and the needy, to partake of 
the dishes we now spread only for the rich, the fashionable, 
and the appetiteless. One rule, however, we may gain at 
once from these considerations, that only the wealthy should 
be dinner-givers, and the man who cannot "afford" £5 for 
the starving, should on no account afford £20 for the 
well fed. 

A dinner, like a pun, should never be made public unless 
it be very good, but at the same time modern improvements 
enable it to be that without being also very expensive. 
The goodness of a dinner does not consist in the rarity and 
costliness of the viands, but in the manner in which they 
are cooked and served, in the various concomitants which 
contribute to give it brilliance and elegance, and yet more 
in the guests who eat it. 

This last point is, in fact, the most important, so that the 
invitation is only a second consideration to the dinner itself. 
The rules for invitations, and some hint's whom to invite, 
are given in the next chapter by my colleague. I need 
give but a few hints of my own. People who have a large 
acquaintance and give dinners, should keep a book in which 
to write the names of those who compose each party, which 
prevents the mistake of asking the same person twice, and 
of bringing precisely the same people together again when 
their turn comes round. There are indeed some privileged 
persons like myself, agreeable old bachelors, who, being free 
from encumbrance and full of talk, are always welcome and 
generally wanted. In fact, such men run a risk of being 
known as professional diners-out, like the convivce of Rome, 
so that it is a greater charity not to invite them too often. 
And this reminds me that you should not ask a man with- 
out his wife, though you may leave his sons and daughters 
out of the calculation. Then, again, the very ancient had 
better be left to dine at home, unless, like Lady Morgan, 
they preserve their conversational powers. The invitation 



WHOM TO INVITE. 



303 



must be answered as soon as possible, and the answer 
addressed to the lady of the house. 

But the question whom to invite, is one which cannot be 
so easily answered. First, there are some people whom you 
must invite sooner or later, namely, those at whose houses 
you have dined ; because you may neglect every Christian 
duty, and be less blamed than if you omit this social one. 
This is certainly absurd, and society becomes almost low 
when dinner-parties take the semblance of a tacit contract, 
in which the one party undertakes to feed the other to-day, 
if the other will feed him in return before the end of the 
season. Yet I have known people not at all ashamed to 
complain that they have not been asked to dinner, and not 
blush to say, " They owe us a dinner, you know." Some- 
how, then, you must manage to acquit yourself of these 
dinner debts before the season is over. Society condemns 
you severely if you do not pay your debts of hospitality. 
Of course this applies only to people who are known to be 
in the habit of giving dinners. Those who from one cause 
or another do not do so, are still invited, though not so 
often. 

But when you have done your duty religiously in this 
respect, you have the world before you. Where to choose ] 
Now, after taking into due consideration the congruities 
and sympathies of those you may select, the chief point is 
to invite men and women — an equal number of each of 
course — who can talk. By this I do not mean your rapid 
utterers of small-talk, who can coin more pretty nonsense 
in half an hour than a modern novelist in three months, 
but men, who having gone through the world, and tamed 
their Pegasus with the curb of experience, not being bound, 
Mazeppa-like, on the back of some wretched hobby, can 
gallop smoothly over the themes that life and the news- 
papers supply to wit ; men who view life calmly from the 
height to which they have climbed, without prejudice and 
without awe ; and women who are capable of understand- 
ing and answering such men as these, But you must care- 



304 DINNERS, DINERS, AND DINNER-PARTIES. 

fully avoid the eater, by which I mean both the gourmand 
and the gourmet, both the alderman whose motto is quan- 
tity, and the epicure who cries for quality. Of what good 
is it to pander to the greediness of a vile being, whose soul 
lies in the stomach, as the Greeks affirmed that it always did, 
and whose mind and thoughts are much in the same region. 
If such men can talk at all, it is only of eating, and if you 
do not feed them with the especial dainties they look for, 
their gratitude shows itself in sneers at your hospitality 
when they next dine out. Wits, again, and men who 
think themselves to be so, should never be asked singly, 
for they will engross the conversation, and silence the rest. 
When asked in numbers, they keep one another within 
limits. 

The number of the guests is a difficulty. People find 
that it is more economical to give large than small dinners, 
and will therefore continue to go on in solemn grandeur. 
But the best dinners are those at which all the guests can 
join in a common conversation, to which the host being 
within hearing of all his party can give the proper lead. 
Such dinners alone can be agreeable to all, because no One 
is dependent on the liveliness of his or her nearest neigh- 
bour for conversation. As it is, too many at dinner is 
nothing better than an eating quadrille, where each person 
has a partner and is at his mercy ; only that the dance 
lasts not an eighth of the time which the leashed diner is 
compelled to pass in company with his partner. Brillat 
Savarin says, that no dinner should have more than twelve 
guests, and the old rule was, " neither less than the graces, 
nor more than the muses but London dinners oftener 
exceed these limits than the reverse, while country dinners 
mount up to twenty. Indeed, with some senseless people, 
the eclat of the dinner seems to consist in the number of 
the guests, and the more you can feed the more your 
glory. I am inclined to think that the old rule is the best ; 
but as it was made for tables at which ladies never ap- 
peared, some alteration must be made in it, 1 



THE NUMBER OF THE GUESTS. 



305 



say generally, that an even number is better than an odd 
one, and that it should be either six, eight, or ten. The first 
of course is reserved for your dinners of honour, when the 
men you admire and the women you love — (two of each, 
for no man can find more than that rj umber in the world) — 
dine with you and your wife ; the second is your sociable 
dinner, at which all the guests are more or less known to 
one another • and the third is your company dinner. If 
you exceed these numbers, you may do what you will to 
make your dinner perfect, your guests will spoil it all by 
falling into couples and eating in quadrille. 

But there is another reason for limiting the number, 
namely, that to give a good dinner, your means, your esta- 
blishment, your dining-room, the capacities of the table, 
and so forth, must all be taken into consideration. But if 
the dinner is given to fourteen, sixteen, or even eighteen, 
as is now common in large towns, you must either increase 
your establishment and your expense not a little, or be 
content, as people are, to give them the regular " feed," in 
which everybody knows beforehand what they will have. 
One cook, for instance,- cannot serve up properly for more 
than a dozen people ; three men cannot wait properly on 
more than ten ; and a table which will hold more than 
that number will be so large as to separate the opposite 
guests too far for easy and general conversation. Lastly, 
if your means enabled you to dine a hundred or a thousand 
every week, you would be a madman to do so ; you might 
as well give your dinner to two only, for what of that 
essential harmony, that communion of mind and spirit, 
" the feast of reason and the flow of soul," can there pos- 
sibly be between a hundred, nay, even seventy people, some 
of them so far from one another that they could scarcely 
be heard without a speaking-trumpet 1 

Having well selected your guests, you consider in what 
room to dine them, for the regular dining-room is not 
always the most comfortable. If the party be small — six 
or eight — a large diniag-room will look very ghastly, and 
2q 



306 DINNERS, DINERS, AND DINNER-PARTIES. 

it should be borne in mind that dinner-givers of good taste 
study comfort more than grandeur, which latter is simply 
vulgar whether in the house of a duke or a haberdasher. 
The furniture of our dining-rooms is certainly improving a 
little. Nothing could be more chilling to the mind and 
appetite alike than the stone-coloured walls, displaying the 
usual magnificent oil-paintings of an unknown school, the 
bust of the master of the feast at one end looking almost 
less solemn than the original under it, the huge table with 
its cumbrous silver adornments, the stiff side-board and the 
stiffer chairs. Whether it was a Puritanical attempt at 
simplicity which insisted that if we would have a good 
dinner we should mortify the flesh with bad concomitants, 
or whether it was a foolish fancy that a dining-room should 
be cold, though the dinner were hot, I cannot say ; but I 
feel that the man who makes dining a study — and he who 
gives dinners should in charity do so — must go farther in 
the improvements of the room than we yet have. Light 
and an air of comfort are the main essentials. The tem- 
perature must not, even in summer, be too low, for sitting 
at dinner produces a chill in itself. Thirteen to sixteen de- 
grees of Reaumur are fixed for it by the author of the Physio- 
logie du gout ; but whatever the exact temperature, it must 
be obtained before dinner by lighting the fire some hours 
previously, and allowing it to burn rather low until near 
the end of the meal, when it must be replenished. There 
are very few days in an English summer when a small fire 
after dinner is not acceptable. In very cold weather, when 
a large one is necessary, it is not easy to manage so that 
one-half of the guests shall not have their backs roasted 
and the other not be frozen, but there are two ways of pre- 
venting it — the one by a large glass-screen before the fire, 
the other by a table in the shape of a horse-shoe or of a 
segment of a circle, of which the chord will be towards the 
fire. A dinner-giver will then have his round or oval table 
so made as to be divisible into two separate ones. 
The shape of the table is, in fact, a more essential point than 



I 

THE SHAPE OF THE TABLE. 



307 



some people think. In order that a dinner may be a social 
meeting, not a mere collection of tetes-a-tetes, as it used to 
be till recently, and still is sometimes, the table must be of 
a shape which will not make conversation difficult between 
any two or more of the guests. The old parallelogram, 
with the stately host at the end and the radiant but 
anxious lady at the other, was fatal to conversation. It 
was too broad, too long, too stiff — the corners cut off the 
lord and lady of the feast from their honoured guests, and 
necessitated leaning across ; while if Monsieur wished to 
make a remark to Madame, he had, independently of the 
joints, epergne, and candelabra, a length of table to impede 
him which compelled him to raise his voice most unmusi- 
cally. It caused a complete divorce, in fact, and Sir Cress- 
well Cresswell could not more effectually sever man and 
wife than that ancient " board" — for such it literally was 
in shape — used to do. The modern table is oval. Some 
people dine at round tables, like Arthur and his knights, 
but these, if large enough for a party, will have a diameter 
every way too long to allow any two opposite guests to 
converse. The horse-shoe table is suited only for a small 
party, and the base should not be occupied. As for the 
long " planks," which served us for tables at college, and 
still do so at public dinners, they have the advantage over 
the mahogany of the dining-room, of allowing a guest five 
persons to talk to instead of one, but they make elegance 
almost impossible. A lozenge-shaped table, with the points 
rounded off, sounds Epicurean, but it leaves open the 
question — where are the host and hostess to sit % At the 
oval table I need scarcely say they sit in the middle of each 
side, opposite to one another. 

The dining-room must be, of course, carpeted even in 
the heat of summer, to deaden the noise of the servants' 
feet. The chairs should be easy, with tall slanting backs, 
but without arms. As they should not be much higher 
than drawing-room chairs, the table must be lowered in pro- 
portion. Each person should be provided with a footstool. 



308 DINNERS, DINERS, AND DINNER-PARTIES. 

Light is positively necessary to digestion, and no party 
can be cheerful without it. It is difficult to have too much 
light, but profusion is less desirable than arrangement, 
while a mere glare becomes painful. Gas and candles 
should both be avoided on that and Other accounts, and the 
best media for lighting are carcelle, or moderator-lamps, 
covered with open pink muslin, or tarlatane, which, without 
diminishing, softens the light. The principal object is to 
throw as much of it as possible on the table, with sufficient 
on the faces of the guests. Lighting from the walls is apt 
to throw the latter into shade, and a chandelier in the 
middle must be hung very low to do justice to the former. 
Lamps on the table itself are simply unpardonable, and 
must on no account be admitted. The best plan is to have 
four chandeliers, containing each one large lamp, and hung 
over the places where the four corners of the table would 
come if it were a parallelogram instead of an oval. The 
rest of the room, however, must not be left in darkness, 
and lamps may be placed on the side-board and side-tables. 
The latter must be very neat, and both should be orna- 
mented richly with flowers rather than with that pompous 
display of plate which is too commonly seen. 

A few words about servants before we come to the table 
itself. "Women wait more quietly and quite as actively as 
men, but a butler, who can carve well and rapidly, is in- 
dispensable. If, however, you have men-servants, they 
should not be too many. A party of ten can be perfectly 
well served by two men and a butler, and, if there are more 
than these, they only get in the way of one another, or 
stand pompously by staring while you eat. Your servants 
should be well trained and instructed, and should obey 
every order given by the butler. A master or mistress 
should never speak to them at dinner, and they must be 
themselves as silent as trappists. They should wear light 
shoes that cannot creak, and if they have a napkin instead 
of gloves, you must see that their hands are perfectly clean. 
They should have their " beats " like policemen, one 



ARRANGEMENT OF THE TABLE. 309 

beginning at the guest on his master's right and ending 
with the lady of the house, the other with the guest on his 
mistress's right ending with the master. 

The table, on which all eyes are turned, is the next 
point. Great changes have taken place in the last ten or 
fifteen years in its arrangements, and as the Kussian plan 
is now adopted in the best houses, and is, at the same time, 
the most elegant, I shall not stop to speak of any other. 
The main point is to secure beauty without interfering with 
conversation. Given, therefore, a table-cover, and a white 
damask table-cloth over it, what are we to place thereon 1 
First, nothing high enough to come between the heads of 
any two of the party, and therefore must epergnes, lamps, 
and so forth, be eschewed as nuisances. Next, that which 
is pleasant and agreeable to the eye, and something that it 
can dwell upon with pleasure. A common object for the 
centre is desirable, and this should be some work of art, 
of Parian or china, not too high nor too large, and on each 
side towards the thin ends of the oval should be bowls of 
biscuit-ware or china, filled with flowers ; or, to be elegant, 
you may have two little table-fountains, provided their 
basins are low. The rest of the table must be covered with 
dessert. By this arrangement plate becomes a secondary 
matter, and indeed a display of massive silver is rather 
chilling, and always looks ostentatious. In addition to the 
flowers mentioned, the French often place a bouquet on the 
napkin of each lady, and the attention is certainly a pretty 
one. The place for each guest should be roomy, but not too 
far from his neighbours. The dinner-service of the present 
day may be reduced to plates alone, since everything else 
is served at the side-table. I am inclined to think that 
pure white china, with a gilt edge, and the best of its kind, 
is the fittest service to dine off, but this is a matter of taste 
only. At any rate, the dessert-service should be handsome. 
Bachelors at dinner have a great advantage in having their 
light wine placed by their glasses in black bottles, but in 
other dinners the wine is handed. It will, however, be 



310 DINNERS, DINERS, AND DEN N EBP ARTIES. 

well on all occasions to have sufficient glasses for all the 
wines to be drank placed on the right hand of each plate, 
and the same may be said of knives, spoons, and forks. 
The napkins may be folded according to fancy. Sometimes 
they are placed on the plate with a roll of bread inside, and 
sometimes arranged in a fan-shape in the champagne-glasses. 
For my own part, I prefer to think that no hands have been 
soiling mine before I use it, and perhaps the most elegant 
way is to lay them on the table or plate just as they come 
from the washerwoman's. 

No dish but those of dessert is placed on the table. I 
have spoken of this, in the chapter on accomplishments, 
under the head of carving, and shall not again discuss the 
question. It suffices to say that where " Ton sait diner" 
no dish is either carved or helped at table. But I am now 
going to recommend the revival of an ancient practice 
which is now gone out. It is that each plate should be 
filled with soup and put in its place at table, at the very 
moment that the guests are coming into the room. The 
object of this is to enable every one to begin dinner at the 
same moment. The hungry do not talk well, and the 
warm soup at once revives the spirits and slakes the 
appetite. It is hard on a man to expect him to begin 
conversation while the ladies are sipping their soup and he 
is waiting for it. Harmony and union are the essentials of 
dinner, and where it can be so simply obtained, it is foolish 
to neglect it. Yet I have little hope that this practice will 
be adopted, because English people seem to think more of 
the pomposity than the comfort of their dinner, and the 
butler and men are required to stand and look grand as the 
guests pass in. I may here observe that the object of soup 
being to " take the chill off " the appetite and prepare the 
inner man for the reception of solids, a light soup is better 
than a thick ■ one, which clogs the appetite ; turtle is only 
fit for an alderman, and your soup may therefore be in- 
expensive. 

After the soup the wine. Modem Englishmen have so 



WINE. 



311 



far improved upon their ancestors, that they no longer meet 
to drink but to dine, and the amount of the wine is there- 
fore of far less importance than its quality. The order of 
the wines, reversing that of the solids, is from the lightest to 
the strongest. The author of the Art of Dining tells us, 
that " sherry, champagne, port, and claret" are indispen- 
sable to the dinner-table. I should be inclined to knock 
off two of these, champagne and port, and put in a light 
Rhenish in their place. Port has become almost an impos- 
sibility, for age is a sine qua non of this wine, and unless 
you have long had a good cellar, you have very little chance 
of obtaining it good. In fact, though still placed on the 
table, the use of it seems to be restricted to a few old gen- 
tlemen, who cannot give up their customary drink. George 
the Fourth declared for sherry, and I cannot help thinking 
he was right. At any rate, bad port is less drinkable than 
bad sherry, and as you will too often have only this choice 
of evils, I beg to hint how the alternative may be most 
prudently taken. Champagne, again, should be very good 
to be enjoyable, and it is also becoming more and more 
difficult to procure. Both port and champagne are doctored 
for every European market, and a friend of mine visiting a 
famous wine-grower at Epernay, tasted from the same cask 
no less than five different wines, all manufactured in a few 
hours out of the same original juice. I suspect that even 
an English wine-merchant can produce as many different 
u vintages" from the same stuff, as M. Houdindoes wines 
from the same bottle. 

The mingling of water with wine is said to have been 
discovered by an accident. A party of old Greeks, not 
famous for sobriety, had been drinking on the sea-shore, 
when a storm arose, and in rapid haste they retreated to a 
cave to take shelter. Probably they were not in a fit con- 
dition for carrying their goblets with them steadily. At 
any rate they left them on the shore, and when the storm 
was over, found their wine converted by the rain into wine 
and water. The allegation that the mixture spoils two good 



312 DINNERS, DINERS, AND DINNER-PARTIES. 

things, as two good people are sometimes spoiled by mar- 
riage, is one which a tippler will support more zealously 
than an epicure. Mr. Walker, in the " Original," recom- 
mends even port and water ; but however this may be, some 
Bordeaux wines gain, rather than lose, by the mixture, and 
you may thus have, to accompany your eating, a cooling 
drink which will not destroy your taste for the good wines 
to follow it. A sensible man avoids variety in drinking. 
One French wine during dinner, and sherry after it, or a 
German wine for the meal, and claret for dessert, will leave 
you much happier than mingling sherry, champagne, claret, 
and port. Great care should be used in decanting wine, so 
as not to shake or cork it. Claret appears in a glass jug, 
but rare French wines, particularly Bourgogne and the Vim 
du Midi, should be brought up and placed on the table in 
their baskets, as decanting spoils them. Although the guest 
should avoid variety, the host must provide it in order to 
meet the tastes of all, and his servants should be taught to 
pronounce properly the names of the different foreign wines, 
which are often so indistinct that we are led into taking a 
white one when we wanted red, or a French one when we 
expected Rhenish 

The bachelor has the great privilege of drinking beer at 
dinner, if he likes it. I cannot conceive how so good and 
harmless an accompaniment of eating came to be excluded 
from the well-served table, unless from a vulgar fancy that 
what is not expensive should not be set before a guest, 
however good it may be. How happy people with these 
notions would be in Ceylon, where Bass costs nearly a shil- 
ling a glass. This reminds me of a story of some vulgar 
man whose name I have forgotten, and do not care to re- 
member. His host simply enough said to his guest, " This 
wine cost me six shillings a bottle." " Did if?" cried the 
other, " then pass it round, and let's have another six- 
penn'orth." The connoisseur of beer rightly judges that it 
is spoiled by bottling \ draught beer is also the more whole- 
some. A glass of old port is generally substituted for the 



FISH. 



313 



beer with cheese, but the drink which the German student, 
an ardent lover of it, tells you was discovered by 

" Gabrantins Kbnig von Brabant 
Der zuerst das Bier erfand," 

is its more natural accompaniment. 

If there were no other advantage in the Russian system, 
as it is called, it would be worth adopting, only because it 
enables the dinner-giver to offer more variety, instead of 
forcing him to sacrifice taste to the appearance of his dishes. 
Thus the turbot and the cod were once becoming standing 
dishes at all English dinners, and small fish were banished 
because they did not put in a majestic appearance. Yet 
there are many better fish than cod and turbot, and there 
are many ways of dressing fish which may not be so agree- 
able to the eye as to the palate. Then, again, how exquisite 
is the flavour of some fresh-water fish, and of several kinds 
of shell-fish, which we so seldom see at great dinners ! How 
much better the variety of trout, perch in souchet, fried 
gudgeons, even eels, mussels, and lampreys (both of which 
must be moderately indulged in, the one producing very 
often a rush on the face, which is cured by large quantities 
of fresh milk, and the other being notorious as a regicide, 
which those who read the commonest history of England will 
remember), than that perpetual turbot. In fact, no kind of 
eating can be more varied than that of fish ; yet, by sticking 
to antique traditions, we deprive ourselves of the enjoyment 
of all the wealth of sea and stream. There are scores of 
ways of dressing them all too, which you can learn in any 
good cookery-book, and almost any fish can be made not 
only eatable but delicious by clever cooking. But vulgarity 
has driven many a good but cheap eatable from the table of 
the rich ; and the Duke of Rutland was quite right to give 
Poodle Byng his conge, when one of these despised delicacies 
appeared at the Duke's table, and Poodle exclaimed, " Ah ! 
my old friend haddock ! I have not seen a haddock on a 
gentleman's table since I was a boy." Oysters, though eaten 
2 R 



314 DINNERS, DINERS, AND DINNER-PARTIES. 



at dinner in France, are properly excluded from table in 
England, as being much too heating, and carp is very indi- 
gestible ; but there are the Devonshire John Dory, a far 
better fish than turbot, red mullets, salmon-trout, whitings, 
smelt, mackerel, sturgeon, the favourite of the Emperor of 
China, and even sprats and herrings, to form a variety be- 
sides those mentioned before. 

But our chief thanks to the new system are due for its 
ostracizing that unwieldy barbarism — the joint. Nothing 
can make a joint look elegant, while it hides the master of 
the house, and condemns him to the misery of carving. I 
was much amused at the observations of a writer on the 
subject of dinners, who objected to flowers on the table, " be- 
cause we don't eat flowers, and everything that is on the table 
ought to be eatable." At this rate the cook would have to 
dish up the epergnes and candelabra. But the truth is, that 
unless our appetites are very keen, the sight of much meat 
reeking in its gravy is sufficient to destroy them entirely, 
and a huge joint especially is calculated to disgust the 
epicure. If joints are eaten at all, they should be placed 
on the side-table, where they will be out of sight. 

Vegetables should properly be served separately on a clean 
plate after the roast, but when served with it, a guest should 
be satisfied with at most two kinds at a time, nothing 
showing worse taste than to load your plate. Asparagus, 
pease, artichokes, haricots, vegetable marrows, and spinach 
ought, if not a component part of a made dish, to be served 
separately. There are many ways of dressing potatoes and 
carrots, which last are a vegetable much neglected at English 
tables, but when quite young, and dressed with butter in 
the French fashion, a delicious eatable, and a preventive of 
jaundice, which should recommend them strongly to profes- 
sional diners-out. 

But I am not a cook, and cannot go through every 
course with you. It must suffice to say, that the dishes 
should not be too many, and that good cooking and 
management make a better dinner than either profusion or 



THE ORDER OF DINNER. 



315 



expenditure, or delicacies out of season. The main points 
are originality and rarity, and to have the best of every- 
thing, or not have it at all. Perhaps the strangest dinner 
I ever ate was in tete-drtete with a bachelor of small ap- 
petite. There were but two courses. To the first we stood 
up, opening our own oysters, and devouring them till we 
could eat no more. The second course, to which we sat 
down, consisted of a dozen marrow-bones, of which we each 
discussed six. They were as hot as they could be, and 
excellent. A variety of vegetables completed this light 
repast, and though I could have dined more largely, I was 
bound to confess that my friend had given me a dinner 
which I should scarcely have got elsewhere. Lest you 
should be tempted to offer a similar repast to a large party, 
I must warn you that the marrow-bone is not considered a 
presentable dish, and that the marrow must be extracted by 
a special kind of spoon, of which a clean one is required for 
every bone. 

Brillat Savarin says, that the order of the solids should 
be from the heaviest to the lightest. This is not strictly 
observed either in France or England, and it may be useful 
to know what is the order generally adopted in this country. 
It is as follows : — 

1. Soup. 

2. Fish, 

3. Patties (of oysters, lobsters, shrimps, or minced veal). 

4. Made-dishes, or entrees, which include poultry. 

5. The roast, or piece de resistance. 

6. Vegetables. 

7. The game. 

8. Pastry, puddings, omelettes. 

9. The ice. 
10. The dessert. 

The salad ought to have, but seldom has a place in this 
list, namely, after the ice, and with cheese. When made 
as a mayonnaise, that is with chicken, cold fish, or shell- 
fish, it comes in as a made-dish. But a pure salad, well 



316 DINNERS, DINERS, AND DINNER-PARTIES. 

dressed, is " a dish to set before a king," and that you may 
be able to dress it yourself, and we may finish our dinner 
with cheerfulness, I give you Sydney Smith's receipt to 
learn by heart, — 

"Two large potatoes, pass'd through kitchen sieve, 
Unwonted softness to the salad give. 
Of mordent mustard, add a single spoon ; 
Distrust the condiment which bites too soon : 
But deem it not, thou man of herbs, a fault 
To add a double quantity of salt. 
Three times the spoon with oil of Lucca crown, 
And once with vinegar procured from town ; 
True flavour needs it, and your poet begs 
The pounded yellow of two well-boil'd eggs. 
Let onion atoms lurk within the bowl, 
And, scarce suspected, animate the whole ; 
And lastly, on the favour'd compound toss 
A magic spoonful of anchovy sauce. 
Then, though green turtle fail, though venison's tough, 
And ham and turkey are not boil'd enough, 
Serenely full, the epicure may say — 
Fate cannot harm me — I have dined to day ! " 

Well, dinner is done, but not the diners. There remains 
on the table what is a whole dinner in Italy, and what is 
dinner enough for a poet — fruit and wine. Talking of 
poets, though, reminds me that their chameleon existence 
is only a poetic license. Byron, who dined off potatoes 
and vinegar in public, generally rewarded himself in 
private with an unspiritual beef-steak, and "cut from 
the joint;" and the poets of "olden time," by which I 
mean the days of eating in Athens and Rome, were also 
the parasites of the feast 3 and for a stave or two, gladly 
accepted a steak or two, just as some later poets have 
dined with my Lord to-day, on the tacit understanding that 
they should write him a dedication to-morrow. In fact, 
Grub Street was not inappropriately named, if slang be 
English ; and most of our own poets, — Moore and Rogers, 



GRACE. 



317 



e.g., — have been careful diners. But, then, the legend which 
made Minerva spring from the head of Jupiter, has long 
been proved a good-natured mistake, destined to encourage 
" our minion lyricists," and there is now no doubt that the 
muse of song and literature had as large a corporation as 
any other of the nine. What else is the meaning of 
" writing for bread % " 

But stop, I had nearly forgotten Grace. Well, that is 
nothing very extraordinary, for the thanksgiving is posi- 
tively the last thing thought of by the diner, and when it 
is remembered, it is too often reduced to a mere formality. 
What ridiculous mockeries are the long Latin graces through 
which we had to stand at college, and the chanted graces 
at public dinners ! If a man be really thankful to God for 
what he gives him, a few thoughts, not words, best express 
it ; but if words be necessary, let them be short and solemn, 
that each one's heart may echo them. Dr. Johnson was 
well reproved in his formal religion, when his wife told him 
it was of no use to ask his Maker to make him truly thank- 
ful, when the next moment he would sit down and abuse 
every dish on the table ; and what was said to Johnson 
may be said to many a pampered diner-out, and to many a 
grumbling father of a family : " Better a dry morsel where 
love is, than a stalled ox, and" — let me adapt it to the 
present day — "grumbling therewith." How often does a 
man say the words of his grace, and soon after find fault 
with the dinner, ungrateful alike to his host and his Maker. 
But, as far as etiquette goes, there is only this to be said, — 
that the audible grace is spoken by the master of the feast, 
or if a clergyman be present, by him. So in India a 
Brahmin was always invited to bless the banquet, and give 
it the sanction of his presence. 

The etiquettes of dinner are not very numerous. We 
have already spoken in Chapter vii. of the manners proper 
at the dinner-table. We have now to consider a few duties 
of host and guest. 

Punctuality may be the soul of business, but it is also 



318 DINNERS, DINEKS, AND DINNER-PARTIES. 

that of knife-and-fork play. Everybody must be punctual 
at the great event of the day. " Dinner," said a French 
cook, "is the hope of the hungry, the occupation of the 
idle, the rest of the weary, and the consolation of the 
miserable ! " Can any one be guilty of delaying such a 
moment ? The Romans complained that before the sun-dial 
was discovered, one dined when hunger ordered, but after- 
wards hunger had to wait for time. In our modern dining- 
rooms, we have little fear that hunger will annoy any one, 
but sometimes a delay may occur which may make hunger 
a very intimate acquaintance. Thus, Cambaceres, one of 
the best dinner-givers of his day, once kept his guests wait- 
ing three hours, while he was engaged on state business ; 
and Walpole relates how he once had to wait nearly four 
hours for dinner at Northumberland House, because the 
Lords were reading the Poor Bill. The guests sat down at 
last without the Peers, but had not done when the legislators 
tumbled in and had the whole dinner served up again. This 
dinner had been fixed for the then fashionable hour of five, 
and did not finish till eleven. However, this was more 
excusable than the case of a late nobleman, who was seen 
mounting his horse for his afternoon ride, just as his guests 
assembled in the drawing-room. 

Next to the host and hostess, the cook ought to be 
punctual. But the guest's arrival is more important still : 
and the guest has no excuse, because from the merest 
selfishness, or want of consideration, he may put a whole 
party to inconvenience. The invited having arrived, the 
lady receives them in the drawing-room, and the conversa- 
tion is necessarily more or less formal, for everybody is 
waiting for the event. At last a servant announces that 
dinner is ready. It is then the part of the host to pair off 
the guests. He himself takes down the lady of the highest 
rank, or the greatest stranger. Distinctions of rank are 
going out in good society, although precedence exists just 
as a herald's office does ; but it may generally be said that 
age has the real precedence, and a lady of advanced years 



DINNER ETIQUETTE. 



319 



should not be put behind any one of rank under royal blood. 
The most intimate with the family take the lowest, the least 
so, the highest place. At dinner, the gentleman sits to the 
right of the lady, so that the arrangement is easily made. 
In France there is no procession of this kind, and the 
awkwardness of precedence is thus avoided. There, all the 
guests enter pell-mell, and find their names written on 
papers placed on their napkins. Besides these papers a 
bill of fare is placed on each plate, when the dinner is really 
good, and the dinner-giver an epicure. 

It is the duty of the host to lead the conversation as 
much as possible, and it is still more his duty to make it 
general. As, however, this art is little understood by Eng- 
lishmen, a man will generally have to talk more or less to 
the lady on his left. He must take care not to neglect 
her for the one on his right, however charming the latter 
may be. The dinner over, and the servants dismissed, the 
ladies sit for a short time at dessert and then retire ; the 
youngest man in the room rises to open the door for them, 
and all the rest rise and stand by their chairs. Then comes 
the " drawing-round," and the conversation grows lighter 
and easier. But young men and old should beware of 
making it too light, or of running, as our barristers often 
do, into stories that are unfit for ladies' ears. 

A true gentleman will be the same in ladies' society as 
he is out of it. A young man should not linger over his 
wine, and he may rise and leave the dining-room before the 
others go. But it remains with the host to offer to "join 
the ladies," which he should do whenever he sees any one 
growing warm over his port and talking too freely. Coffee 
and tea are both served up stairs, and both should be hot. 
Coffee is drunk without milk and with sugar ; tea, by those 
who know how to enjoy it, without either ; but they are 
the rarce aves of society, men who know what is good and 
enjoy it quietly. A little green tea is necessary after wine, 
for it awakens and excites. No man should drink enough 
wine to make him feel too easy with the ladies. If he has 



320 DINNERS, DINERS, AND DINNER-PARTIES. 

done so without feeling its effects, he had better go home 
before he goes up to the drawing-room. In France the 
gentlemen come away with the ladies, and there is no wine- 
drinking. In England the custom is dwindling down to a 
mere form, and the shorter you remain after the departure 
of the ladies the better. But remember, that many meats 
require as much as four hours to digest, and that the best 
aid to digestion is lively, easy conversation. A dinner party 
breaks up at about eleven. There should be a little music 
in the evening ; but it is a great mistake to have a regular 
evening party after a dinner. At eleven you go home, 
and having had a walk, put on your white neck-tie for the 
next event of the evening, which is discussed in the thir- 
teenth chapter. 



CHAPTER XII. 



LADIES AT A DINNER. 

We have next to consider a lady in the all-important 
character of a hostess at a dinner party. 

Her first duty in this capacity is to send out her invita- 
tions in due time and proper form. With regard to the 
time, it is necessary, during the height of the London sea- 
son, to send an invitation three weeks before the dinner 
party ; but, in the quiet season of the year, or in the coun- 
try, it is neither essential to do so, nor usual. The best 
plan for persons who give many dinner-parties, is to have 
a plate with their names and invitations printed thus : — 

Mr. and Mrs. - — 
Bequest the favour of 

Mr. and Mrs. 's 

Company at dinner on the 

at o'clock. 

In writing to persons of rank far above your own, or to 
clergymen of high dignity, such as bishops and deans, the 
word " honour" should be substituted for " favour." 

These invitations should properly be sent by a servant, 
and not by the post, unless the distance be great. 

Next comes the choice of guests, thus assembled, to sit 
in close contact for two hours or more. 

This involves many considerations. If your guests do 
not assimilate, no luxury of dinners, no perfection of man- 
ners on your part, can avert a failure. Yet so little is this 
321 2 s 



322 



LADIES AT A DINNER. 



understood, that there are persons who collect, as it "would 
seem, a party so discordant as to provoke a question 
whether they had not shaken them all in a bag together, 
and turned them out loose upon each other — the man of 
easy principles with the serious doctor of divinity ; the man 
of talent with a rich and mindless merchant ; the quiet 
country family with the trashy London dashers, and so on ; 
and these solecisms in taste and discretion occur frequently. 
Nor ought the worldly positions of people to be the sole 
consideration. Many a nobleman will assimilate far better 
with the poor author than with the millionaire ; wealth, 
simply because it is wealth, gains little prestige in good 
circles ; there is a prejudice against the nouveau riches 
among the old families of England. Neither is it desirable 
to club all your aristocratic or fashionable acquaintance to- 
gether ; you offend by so doing, those who are left out ; 
and many lose valuable friends who, however conscious they 
may be of an inferior position, do not like to be reminded 
of it. It is something, too, to avoid giving pain to the 
feelings of others. 

The general rule, however, is to invite persons of nearly 
the same standing in society to meet at dinner ; taking care 
that their general views and mode of life are not so con- 
trasted as to be likely to clash. In the country, difference 
of politics used to form a barrier ; Whig and Tory, even if 
they sat at table together, would scarcely drink wine with 
each other. But all that inconvenience to host and hostess 
has long since passed away, and to the facilities of form- 
ing a party the custom of no longer asking any one to take 
wine has contributed. 

Those who wish to form agreeable dinner-parties will 
avoid a class : a dinner composed of officers only and their 
wives recalls too forcibly barrack life ; " talking pipe-clay," 
as they term it, is as fatiguing as "the ship," though 
not so vulgar. Wives of officers, in marching regiments, 
have generally travelled far, and seen nothing : they can 
tell you -little but how bad their quarters were ; and how 



SELECTION OF GUESTS. 



323 



they were hurried away from such and such a place. The 
gentlemen of the bar, sprinkled about, make a charming 
spice to a dinner ; but, like all spices, one must not have 
too much of them : they want keeping down, otherwise 
you have your dining-room turned into Westminster Hall ; 
or you feel, if you venture to talk yourself, as if you were 
subjecting yourself to a cross-examination. Yet the late 
Lord Grenville remarked, that he was always glad to meet 
a lawyer at a dinner-party, for he was then sure that some 
good topic would be started. The title of doctor is against 
the fascination of a physician's manners ; his very atten- 
tions may seem to have an interested air, since the doctor's 
clients are in society. A conclave of doctors is even more 
formidable than one of lawyers, for the former have only to 
deal with the constitution of the state, and the latter are 
looking, perhaps, at your constitution, and privately con- 
demning it. A party wholly composed of clergymen is 
perhaps worse ; delightful as companions, valuable as 
friends, as many clergymen are, when assembled they run 
naturally into topics we do not wish to have familiarized. 
Secular interests peep out from those we esteem sacred ; 
the pleasures of gastronomy, which are as fully appreciated 
by the clergy as by any other class, seem so little to accord 
with the spirit-stirring eloquence we heard last Sunday, 
that we regret having met our " venerable rector" under 
such circumstances. 

" Perhaps," says Dr. Johnson, " good-breeding consists 
in having no particular mark of any profession, but a general 
elegance of manners." On this principle of generalizing 
should dinner-parties be formed. 

In high English society, to quote that accomplished 
member of society, Mr. Hay ward, in his Treatise on Codes 
of Manners, any calling was some few years since deroga- 
tory to the perfect character of a gentleman ; it is now 
otherwise. Yet the distinction of the aristocratic profes- 
sions, as opposed to other callings, is maintained, and it will 
perhaps continue to be so. These are the churchy the bar, 



324 



LADIES AT A DINNER. 



the higher walks of medicine, the army and navy. The 
different members of these professions and their wives and 
families are therefore fit for any society ; there is no 
possible objection to their mixing at a dinner-table with 
nobility, provided they be well-bred and agreeable. The 
literary man, if a gentleman by education and manners, is 
always an agreeable addition ; and the highest in rank 
have in this country set the example of inviting artists, 
architects, and sculptors, but not always their families, to 
their tables. 

Great eminence in talents sets aside distinctions ; and 
" the first class of millionaires," Mr. Hay ward assures us, 
" rise superior to rules." But it is not in good taste to 
follow out this last maxim, unless high personal character, 
the good employment of vast wealth, and a gentlemanly 
bearing, accompany riches. The lady, whose talk about 
" bigotry and virtue " was the amusement of the clubs 
some years since, had no right, in regard to her husband's 
position and character, to be associated, as she was, with 
women of high rank or of old patrician families ; the varnish 
has since been taken off the picture, and it has sunk down 
to its original value, after having been at a fabidous estima- 
tion in the social mart. 

The next points refer to the duties of a lady on the 
arrival of the guests at the house. She remains in some 
convenient part of her drawing-room, and too much cannot 
be said of the importance of her being dressed some time 
before the party arrives. Want of attention in this respect, 
though very much less thought of now than formerly, is a 
real breach of good manners. Neither should her daughters, 
should she have any, come dropping in one by one, but 
should be seated, ready to receive the visitors. 

Previously, however, to her going up to dress, the lady 
of the house should have arranged, with some consideration, 
who is to take precedence. 

1. With respect to persons of title. These take pre- 
cedence according to their titles ; but, should there be 



PRECEDENCE. 



325 



diplomatic foreigners of the first class, they go out first ; or, 
should there be a bishop and his wife, precedence is usually 
given to them by courtesy, even over dukes and marquises ; 
bishops ranking with earls.* The same courtesy is ex- 
tended to all the dignified clergy ; whilst the wives of all 
the clergy take precedence of the wives of barristers ; and 
the wives of the esquires, without professions or trade, take 
precedence of both clergymen's and barristers' wives. 
These distinctions are seldom, it is true, rigorously to be 
pursued, but it is convenient to know them ; it is as well, 
also, especially to remember that the wives of clergymen 
and of barristers, by right, take precedence of the untitled 
wives of military and naval men. There is no place speci- 
fied for physicians, who, however, are ranked in the house- 
holds of the royal family next to the knights, and whose 
wives, therefore, go out after those of the barristers. 

These seem to be worldly and unimportant rules ; but 
whatever prevents mistakes, ill-will, and the possibility of 
doing a rude action without intention, comes under the 
comprehensive head — " How to be civil with ease." Be- 
sides, although in friendly society, as it is called, a breach 
of etiquette might not signify, there is so much that is 
unfriendly, so much in which criticism stalks among the 
company seeking whose conduct he may challenge, that a 
hostess should be perfectly armed with every defence against 
comment. 

As her guests enter she should advance half-way to meet 
them. This is a point of politeness ; and a lady in a county 
near London gave great offence once at her first dinner, by 
standing with one arm on her mantel -piece, waiting till her 
company came up to her. All the chairs should be ready, 
so that there should be no placing or needless confusion ; 
but, should any change in the arrangement of the rooms 
be requisite, it should be made by the butler or by the 



* See Lodge's Orders for Precedency. An archbishop ranks with 
a duke. 



326 



LADIES AT A DINNER. 



gentleman of the house. The lady of the house should do 
nothing but receive, converse, and look as well as she can. 
To this end her room and all the minutiae should be taste- 
fully arranged. A distribution of natural flowers adds 
greatly to the gaiety of a drawing-room, how richly or 
poorly soever it may be furnished : people are apt to forget 
in England, what is never forgoTten in France, how greatly 
the style and arrangement of furniture contribute to make 
a party go off well, and those engaged in it look well, of 
which pleasing fact people often have a sort of intuitive 
conviction, even without the aid of the looking-glass. 

And now the test of good-breeding in a hostess is to be 
detected ; it is often a severe one. Her guests may arrive 
all at once, she must not be hurried, yet each and all must 
feel that they have her individual attention. She must 
have something pleasing and cheerful to say to every one, 
but she must not say or do too much. Perhaps her guests 
are late, or perhaps, worst martyrdom of all, her servants 
are late in announcing dinner. She chafes inwardly ; but 
still, feeling as if on a stage, with an army of observation 
around her, she bears up ; strikes out new subjects ; ap- 
pears as if still expecting some one ; no, nothing is to go 
wrong with her ; be it ever really so wrong that day, she 
must not seem to notice it. 

It may be argued that this implies a degree of self- 
restraint akin to dissimulation ; but that is an error ; 
self-restraint does not imply dissimulation. At length 
dinner is announced ; perhaps a few minutes previously some 
reckless youth, or sexagenarian, but probably the former, 
since the being too late for dinner is not commonly the fault 
of age, comes breathlessly in. I am shocked to say I have 
seen married ladies look very much out of temper at the 
delinquent on such occasions, especially if he happened to 
be "some one we must ask" — a youth from college, or a 
country cousin — and I have heard the gentleman call out 
" dinner" to the servant before the door was closed. The 
French host and hostess would die rather. In a well- 



GOING TO DINNEK. 



327 



arranged party the butler should have a list of the guests, 
so that he may know, as one after another comes in, that 
he may be placing the silver dishes with hot water in them 
on the table, arranging the lights, and doing many little 
things that require time, and, if omitted, cause delay. 

The party being assembled, and dinner announced, the 
gentleman of the house offers the lady of the highest rank 
his arm, and, having previously arranged with the other 
gentlemen which ladies they are to conduct, moves off with 
the one he has chosen to the dinner-table, and places her 
on his right hand, next to himself. 

The gentleman appointed to conduct the lady of the 
house almost simultaneously offers her his arm ; they fol- 
low, and are followed in their turn by the whole of the 
company, linked by previous arrangement. As these various 
couples enter, the master of the house, already in the dining- 
room, arranges where they are to sit. Sometimes, however, 
and in certain houses, this is not done, but, more graces 
fully I think, the party seat themselves as they enter ; a 
due sacrifice to the rules of etiquette having been made 
by the master and mistress of the house in their own 
persons. 

It is still customary, but not invariably so, as formerly, 
for a lady to sit at the head of her own table. Let us, 
however, suppose her there, as being the most frequent 
arrangement. 

Henceforth she has nothing to do with the dinner, except 
to partake of it. In old times, the lady presiding was 
expected to carve every dish before her, and to be perfect 
in the art of carving. Lady Mary Montagu, presiding at 
her father's table, was condemned, at fifteen, to perform 
this feat whenever her father had a party. Had she lived 
now she need never have touched a spoon, fork, or knife, 
except those on her own plate ; her lovely face might 
have beamed serenely on those around her ; and her dawning 
powers of mind have been enhanced by conversation, which 
was in those days impossible. In the present era, whilst 



328 



LADIES AT A DLNNEK. 



the hostess should, as it were, see everything that goes on, 
or does not go on, she should look at nothing, say nothing, 
and reserve all strictures on failure and reproof, if needful, 
not until the time when guests shall have departed, but 
until the next day, when her servants, having recovered the 
fatigue of unusual exertion, will be more willing to listen 
without irritation and to good effect than on the previous 
evening. 

Drinking much wine is vulgar, whether the sin be per- 
petrated by a duchess or a farmer's wife : all manifest self- 
indulgence tends to vulgarity. A lady, also, should not be 
ravenous at table ; neither should she talk of eating or 
of the dishes. Whatever conversation takes place should 
be easy ; if possible sensible, even intellectual, without 
pedantry. It may be personal, if with prudence ; for 
nothing is so agreeable, for instance, as to hear public 
characters discussed at table ; and there is a natural love of 
biography in the human mind that renders anecdote, with- 
out scandal, always agreeable. The conversation at dinner 
tables is usually carried on in an under tone, and addressed 
first to one neighbouring gentleman, then to another. In 
large dinner-parties general conversation is impossible. It 
is only at that delightful form of social intercourse, a small 
party, that one may enjoy the luxury of an animated and 
general conversation. 

It is now the custom for ladies to retire after the ice and 
dessert have gone round. They then retire, almost in the 
same order as they came, to the drawing-room. Here the 
province of the lady of the house is to maintain easy and 
cheerful conversation, and to make it, if possible, general. 
Her labours are often not well repaid, but, in modern times, 
are not of long duration. 

One is tempted, however, sometimes to envy the French 
customs. At a Parisian dinner-party, each gentleman rises 
with his appointed lady neighbour, gives her his arm, and leads 
her into the drawing-room, where coffee comes in directly. 
Thus the evening begins. In some instances the gentle- 



AFTER DINNER. 



329 



men, and ladies also, soon take their leave ; in others, 
remain till ten or eleven o'clock. But the dreary interregnum 
which still occurs in this country, whilst mine host is cir- 
culating the bottle below — and' ladies are discussing their 
servants, the last tooth their baby cut, or the raging epi- 
demic, in the drawing-room above — is unknown in the 
salons of Paris. 

It must not be forgotten that all the comfort and part of 
the success of a dinner-party must depend on the previous 
arrangements ; but the qualities which regulate a house, 
and the experience which is brought to bear upon the im- 
portant knowledge of how to give a dinner-party, as far as 
the material part is concerned, is not in my province. 

What Lord Chesterfield says is here to the purpose : 
" The native of things," he remarks, " is always and every- 
where the same, but the modes of them vary more or less 
in every country ;" but good-breeding, he adds, consists in 
an easy and genteel conformity to them, or rather, " the 
assuming of them at proper times and in proper places." 

In conclusion, let us recal the advice of Napoleon the 
First, who duly respected the importance of dinner-parties 
as a social institution : 

" Tenez bonne table, et soignez les femmes" 



2 T 



CHAPTER XIII. 



BALLS. 

Balls are the paradise of daughters, the purgatory of cha- 
perons, and the Pandemonium of Paterfamilias. But when 
he has Arabella's ball-dresses to pay for ; when mamma tells 
him he cannot have the brougham to-night, because of Lady 
Fantile's dance ; when he finds the house suddenly filled 
with an army of upholsterer's men, the passage barricaded 
with cane-bottomed benches, the drawing-room pillaged of 
its carpet and furniture, and in course of time himself 
turned bodily out of his own library with no more apology 
than, " We want it for the tea to-night when, if he goes 
to bed, there is that blessed — oh ! yes, blessed — horn 
going on one note all night long, and, if he stops up, he has 
no room to take refuge in, and must by force of circum- 
stances appear in the ball-room among people of whom he 
does not know one quarter, and who will perhaps kindly 
put the final stroke to his misery by mistaking him for his 
own butler ; when Paterfam undergoes this and more, he 
has no right to complain, and call it all waste of time and 
pure folly. Will he call it so when Arabella announces 
that she is engaged to the young and wealthy Sir Thysse 
Thatte, Bart., and that it was at one ball he met her, at 
another he flirted, at a third he courted, and at a fourth 
offered 1 Will he call it so when he learns that it is the 
balls and parties — innocent amusements — which have kept 
his son Augustus from the gaming-table, and Adolphus from 
330 



THE INVITATIONS. 



331 



curaqoa ? Perhaps he will give them a worse epithet when 
they have killed Ada and worn out her mother. But then 
whose fault was that 1 Est modus in rebus, and balls in 
moderation are as different from balls in excess as gun- 
practice at Woolwich from gun-practice at Delhi. 

There is not half enough innocent amusement in Eng- 
land, and, therefore, there is' far too much vice. I should 
like to see dancing come in and drinking go out (as it would 
do) among our lower orders. I should like to see Clod 
clap his heels together on the village-green, instead of clog- 
ging his senses with bad beer at the village public-house. 
They do so in France, and the French are a sober race com- 
pared with the English. It would improve the health of 
the women and the morals of the men. But this is not 
my present affair. The advantage of the ball in the upper 
classes is, that it brings young people together for a sensible 
and innocent recreation, and takes them away from silly, if 
not bad ones, that it gives them exercise, and that the 
general effect of the beauty, elegance, and brilliance of a 
ball is to elevate rather than deprave the mind. 

Balls can only be given often by the rich, but ball-goers 
are expected to turn bail-givers once a year at least, and 
your one dance, if well arranged, will cost you as much as 
your dinners for the whole season. It is not often then 
that people who have no daughters, and are too old to 
dance themselves, give a ball ; and, as a rule, if you cannot 
afford to do it in good style, it is better to leave it alone. 
In London, however, no one will blame you for not 
giving a dance. The difficulty, then, is not to find balls 
enough to go to, but time enough to go to all. 

When you have made up your mind to give a ball, and 
have succeeded in fixing a clay when there will be no very 
grand affair, such as a court-ball, to take your guests away, 
the first thing to do is to send the invitations. 

" How many shall we ask, Arabella 1 " 

" Oh ! at least two hundred, mamma. I do so like a 
large ball." 



332 



BALLS. 



" Nonsense, my dear, our rooms won't hold eighty with 
comfort." 

" Then there is the staircase." 

" A pleasant prospect for late comers." 

« And the hall." 

" Where they will have the society of the footmen — very 
agreeable." 

" And the conservatory," urges Arabella. 

" No, my child, that is reserved for flirtations. In short, 
if we have more than a hundred, it will be a terrible- crush." 

" But, mamma, a crush is quite the fashion. I'm sure 
people here in London don't go to balls to dance." 

" What for then, Miss Wisdom % " 

" To say they have been there ; to say it was a frightful 
crush at the Joneses ; to see their neighbours, to be sure." 

" And to be melted with the heat." 

" Well, we can ice them, mamma," 

However, Arabella is partly right. In London, and 
during the season, if a ball is given as a formality, and the 
rooms are not large, it is better to give up the hope of com- 
fortable dancing, and have the renommee of a crush. All 
the gentlemen who failed to get into the drawing-room, and 
all the young ladies whose dresses were hopelessly wrecked, 
will execrate, but still remember you, and it is something 
to be remembered in London, whether well or ill. So that 
when you have called your guests together as close as sheep 
in a fold, allowed them to take an hour to climb the stairs, 
and half an hour to get down again, given them a supper 
from Gunter's, with champagne of the quality which in- 
duced impudent Brummell to ask for " some more of that 
cider ; very good cider that," you have done the notorious 
if not the agreeable thing, and Mrs. Fitzj ones' ball will be 
talked of and remembered. But there are better ways of 
achieving this highly desirable notoriety of three days' 
duration. 

Any number over one hundred constitutes a "large ball," 
below that number it is simply " a ball," and under fifty 



WANTED I FINE YOUNG MEN. 



333 



" a dance." I have been at a ball of ten thousand, 
as large as the garrison of Paris itself, given by Madame 
Hausmann at the Hotel de Ville in that city, and yet, 
though it was not " the thing" to dance there, the rooms 
looked almost empty, so many and so large were they. On 
the other hand, I have been at the Tuileries when there 
was not a tenth of that number, and found the dancing 
confined to one little spot in the long gallery, about as large 
as an ordinary London drawing-room. In short, the num- 
bers must be proportioned to the size of the rooms, with 
this proviso, that the more you have, the more brilliant, 
the fewer you have, the more enjoyable it will be. 

In making your list, you must not take in all your 
acquaintance, but only all those who are moveable — the 
marionettes, in fact. Middle-aged people think it a com- 
pliment to be asked to a ball about as much as the boa- 
constrictor iu the Kegent's Park would. Both he and they 
like to be fed, and after five-and-thirty, it is laborious not 
only to dance, but even to look at dancing. 

" What shall we do for gentlemen, mamma 1 I have 
counted up thirty-eight young ladies who dance, and only 
twenty-five partners for them." 

In some places this is a question to which there is no 
answer but despair. Young men are at a premium in the 
ranks of Terpsichore as much as those of death, and they 
must be bribed to join by as large a bounty, in the shape 
of a good supper. " I shan't go to the Fitzjoneses," yawns 
De Boots of the Scotch Muffineers, " the champagne was 
undrinkable last year, and the pdte de foie gras tasted like 
kitten." How De Boots of the Muffineers comes to know 
the taste of kitten does not transpire. 

" "Well, my love," says mamma, " we must get some 
intimate friends to bring a young man or two." 

Thereupon there is a casting up of who knows whom, and 
whom it would be best to commission as recruiting-sergeant. 
But mamma, Arabella, and their intimate ami de la maison 
may talk and write and labour, they will never make up 



334 



BALLS. 



the full war complement, and wall-flowers will flourish still. 
This system of " bringing a friend" is a very bad one, and 
should be avoided. It reminds me of a story of worthy 
Mrs. P — , who had Junot's house in Paris, and in its 
magnificent rooms gave some of the largest and most bril- 
liant balls, but, owing to the " friend " system, very mixed. 
So much so that on one occasion a gentleman went up to 
her and told her that there was one of the swell mob pre- 
sent. Mrs. P — was deaf and amiable. 61 Dear me," she 
replied, " is there really 1 I hope he has had some supper." 
But the disciple of Fagan had taken care of himself ; he 
had not only had supper, but when he had done using his 
fork and spoon, had, in the neatest manner, put them away 
in his pocket, so that the next time I went to Mrs. P — 's, 
I found a mouchard sitting near the door behind a large 
book. I was asked my nam£ and address, and doubtless 
my description was taken down too. I found that ladies 
as well as gentlemen were treated in this way. 

Your best plan, therefore, is to invite only one-third 
more than your rooms will hold, for you may be sure that 
more than that number will disappoint you. The invita- 
tions should be sent out three weeks beforehand, and you 
need not expect answers, except from those who have an 
excuse for not accepting. 

The requisites for an agreeable ball are good ventilation, 
good arrangement, a good floor, good music, a good supper, 
and good company. The arrangements are perhaps more 
important than any other item, and in this country they 
are little understood or greatly neglected. Yet the enjoy- 
ment of the dancers is materially increased by the brilliance 
and elegance of the details, beauty and dress are enhanced 
by good lighting or proper colours, and the illusion of a 
fairy-like scene may be brought up by judicious manage- 
ment, and the concealment of everything that does not 
strictly- accord with the gaiety. In Paris, where balls, in 
spite of the absence of supper, are more elegant than any- 
where else, a vast deal of effect and freshness is secured by 



THE ARRANGEMENTS. 



335 



the employment of shrubs, plants, and flowers, and these 
may be freely used without making your rooms fantastic. 
Thus that odious entrance from the kitchen-stairs, which 
yawns upon the lobby of most London houses, should be 
concealed by a thick hedge of rhododendrons in pots ; the 
balustrades of the staircase and gallery should be woven 
with evergreens, and all the fire-places should be concealed 
by plenty of plants in flower. In Paris, again, the musi- 
cians are unseen, and the strains of the piano, horn, flageo- 
let, and violin proceed from behind a flowery bank, artfully 
raised in one corner of the ball-room. 

It is a rare thing in London to find more than four or 
five rooms en suite, and often the number does not exceed 
two. In the "flats" of the large French houses, you have 
often as many as seven or eight rooms opening one into 
another, and so much is the advantage of space recognised, 
that a bed-room even is opened at the end of the suite, if 
necessary. I have danced in a room where the grand bed 
was standing in an alcove, scarcely concealed by thin 
muslin curtains, and disguised with a coverlet of em- 
broidered white satin. But in England any sacrifice should 
be made to secure a refreshment-room, if not a supper-room, 
on the same floor as the ball-room, nothing being more try- 
ing to ladies' dresses than the crush down and up the stairs. 
A cloak-room down stairs for the ladies, with one or two 
maids to assist them ; a tea and coffee room, with at least 
two servants ; and a hat-room for gentlemen, are indispen- 
sable. If the ball is a large one, numbered tickets should 
be given for the cloaks and hats. 

Up stairs the colour and lighting of the rooms is essen- 
tial. The ball-room especially should be that which has 
the lightest paper ; and if there be dark curtains, particu- 
larly red ones, they must be. taken down and replaced by 
light ones. The best colour for a ball-room is very pale 
yellow. The light should come from the walls, heightened 
by strong reflectors. Chandeliers are dangerous, and throw 
a downward shadow ; at any rate, wax should always be 



336 



BALLS. 



replaced by globe lamps. After the Tuileries' balls, we 
often returned with complete epaulettes of wax-spots on our 
shoulders, if in moments of carelessness we had stood under 
the chandeliers. Gas is heating, and throws rather a sickly 
glare. 

How can we dance well without a proper ground % It 
was all very well for nymphs and satyrs to " trip it on the 
light fantastic toe" over greensward and pebbly paths, but 
then they did not waltz d, deux temps. A "carpet-dance" 
is a bad dance, and the cloth drawn over the Kidderminster 
is seldom tight enough, and never so good as a floor. Eng- 
lish people have as great a horror of taking up their carpets 
as Frenchmen are supposed to have of washing their necks. 
Probably the amount of dust which would meet their gaze 
is too appalling to think of. Then, again, English boards 
are of a wood which it is not easy to polish. Commend 
me to the old oak- floors, which, with a little bees' -wax, 
come out as dark as ebony, and help the unskilled foot to 
glide. However, a polished floor, whatever the wood, is 
always the best thing to dance on, and, if you want to give 
a ball, and not only a crush, you should hire a man who, 
with a brush under one foot, and a slipper on the other, 
will dance over the floor for four or five hours, till you can 
almost see your face in it. Above all, take care that there 
is not bees'-wax enough to blacken the ladies' shoes. It is 
the amount of rubbing which must give it the polish. 

Four musicians are enough for a private ball. If the 
room is not large, do away with the horn ; the flageolet is 
less noisy, and marks the time quite as well. A piano and 
violin form the mainstay of the band ; but if the room be 
large, a larger band may be introduced to great advantage. 
The dances should be arranged beforehand, and, for large 
balls, you should have printed a number of double cards, 
containing on the one side a list of the dances ; on the 
other, blank spaces to be filled up by the names of partners. 
A small pencil should be attached to each card, which should 
be given to each guest in the cloak-room. Every ball opens 



REFRESHMENTS. 



337 



with a quadrille, followed by a waltz. The number of the 
dances varies generally from eighteen to twenty-four, supper 
making a break after the fourteenth dance. Let us suppose 
you have twenty-one dances ; then seven of these should be 
quadrilles, three of which may be lancers. There should 
next be seven waltzes, four galops, a polka, a polka-mazurka, 
and some other dance. 

We come at last to what some people of bad taste think 
the most important part, — the eating and drinking. As a 
first rule, it may be laid down that nothing should be 
handed in a ball. A refreshment-room is, therefore, indis- 
pensable. The ladies are to be first considered in this 
matter. The refreshments may be simple, comprising tea, 
lemonade, that detestable concoction called negus, iced 
sherbet, ices, wafers, cakes, and bonbons. In French parties 
they give you, towards the end of the evening, hot chocolate, 
and this is coming into fashion in England, and is certainly 
very refreshing. In the south of Germany a lady asks you 
to fetch her a glass of beer ; in Munich, this is customary 
even in the court circles. There is a terrible prejudice 
against beer in England, but it is perhaps the best thing to 
drink after dancing. Fancy our pretty Misses quaffing their 
pint of Bass ! Yet why not 1 In Germany and France, and 
now, too, in England, the favourite bonbon is a chestnut or 
slip of orange in a coat of candied sugar. I remember well 
at Munich a trick that was played on an old geheim-rath, 
who was known to have a violent passion for oranges glacees, 
and suspected of carrying them away in his pockets in large 
quantities. A number of young officers managed to stuff 
his coat-pockets with these bonbons without his discovering 
it, and then one of them, assuming great interest in the old 
gentleman, induced him to sit down for a little chat. When 
he got up again there was a stream of orange-juice issuing 
from each coat-tail, and the old man pottered about quite 
unconscious of the amusement he excited. 

The supper, of course, has a separate room, which must 
be well lit. Of its contents, as I am not a confectioner, I 
2 u 



338 



BALLS. 



can say nothing. Two things I can say : Ice everything 
(in a London season) that can conveniently be iced, and let 
there be nothing that requires carving. The fowls and 
birds should, therefore, all be cut up. The supper hour in 
London is generally midnight, after which it goes on till 
the end of the ball. In England, it is usually served with 
much expense and display on a table, round which all the 
dancers stand ; but in France, even at the Tuileries, it is 
arranged on long buffets, as in our public balls, the servants 
standing behind, and thus saving a vast deal of pushing 
about, and much trouble to the gentlemen. Another im- 
portation from France, is the custom of giving hot soup at 
supper, and a very good one it is. In fact, hot things are 
still to be desired at supper, and always will be acceptable. 
At a ball no one sits down to supper • at a small dance the 
ladies sit, and the gentlemen stand behind them. A lady 
should never drink more than one glass of champagne, nor a 
man more than two. There is a modern custom which saves 
the pockets of ball-givers, and is most grateful to dancers, that 
of giving the men bottled beer. No man of sense will drink 
bad gooseberry when he can get good Bass. The latter 
refreshes more, and intoxicates less ; but until we become 
sensible on this point, champagne will remain as indis- 
pensable an element of the ball-supper as trifle, tipsy-cake, 
and mayonnaise ; which last, if made with fish, is the best 
dish you can eat at this meal. 

I now pass to the etiquettes of the ball-room. 

In the days when bows were made down to an angle of 
45°, and it took two minutes to sink and two to rise in a 
curtsey, the givers of balls must have been punished for 
their entertainment by a stiffness the next day quite as 
trying as that of the young gentleman who has followed 
the hounds for the first time in his life. As for the worthy 
PreTet and Madame la PreTecte de la Seine, they would 
have been carried away lifeless with fatigue before the half 
of the thousands had had their bow in the receiving-room 
of the Hotel de Yille at Paris. In the present day the 



EECEIVING THE GUESTS. 



339 



muscles of the mouth are brought more into requisition, 
and for the time being the worst of Xantippes must turn 
into an angel of amiability if she gives a balL The lady of 
the house must, in short, linger till supper-time in the 
neighbourhood of the door by which her guests enter the 
rooms ; she must have a pleasant smile for everybody ; and, 
if possible, she should know everybody's name, and how 
many they are in family. To a large ball you ask a great 
number of people with whom you have only a slight ac- 
quaintance, and of course a number of gentlemen arrive who 
may be your husband's or son's friends, or recruits levied 
by an ami de la maison. To these a bow rather more in- 
clined than to your own friends, and a particularly amiable 
smile, is necessary • but in order to put them quite at their 
case, you should be able to come forward and say some little 
polite phrase or other. " Are we not to have the pleasure 
of seeing more of your party ?" perhaps you ask, when a 
mamma and one daughter are announced. But if there are 
no more of them to come, how awkward for you and them ! 
So too it is wise to avoid asking after relations, unless you 
are quite sure about their existence. What can the bereaved 
widower say or look, when in the excess of your amiability 
you inquire " How is Mrs. — ?" The master of the house, 
too, if he is not gone out of town " on business," for that 
night, should be in the neighbourhood of his spouse, in 
order to introduce to her any of his own recruits/ The sons 
will hang about the same quarter for the same purpose, but 
the daughters will be otherwise occupied. It is their duty 
to see that the dances are formed, and a well-bred young 
lady does not dance till she has found partners for all the 
young ladies, or as many of them as can be supplied from 
the ranks of the recruits present. Now and then you will 
see her dart anxiously out upon the landing, to press into 
the service those languid loungers who are sure to be 
hanging about the doors. She has the right to ask a 
gentleman to dance without having a previous acquaintance, 
but she must be careful how she uses it. I have known a 



340 



BALLS. 



case where a distinguished young man having declined her 
invitation to dance, but being pressed by " I can't make up 
the Lancers without you," somewhat reluctantly accepted, 
performed his part so well, that his partner was quite eprise 
with him, and even ventured on a little flirtation. You can 
imagine her dismay, when later in the evening she saw her 
charming acquaintance carrying up a pile of plates from the 
kitchen to the supper-room. For the first time in her life 
she had danced with an occasional waiter. The genus wall- 
flower is one that grows well in every ball-room, but a young 
lady, however plain, however stupid, can, if she dances well, 
always have some partners. The great thing is to secure the 
first, who, on retiring, will say to some of his friends, "I'll 
tell you who dances well ; that girl in pink, Miss A — , I 
advise you to get introduced to her." The right of intro- 
ducing rests mainly with the ladies and gentlemen of the 
house, but a chaperon may present a gentleman to her 
charge ; or if you, being a man, are intimate with a young 
lady, you may ask her permission to introduce some friend. 
It is in very bad taste to refuse this permission, but if a 
lady has an insuperable objection to the person in question, 
she may decline to dance altogether, or refer the applicant 
to her chaperon. In France, as I have said, no introduction 
is needed, though English young ladies generally expect it 
even at French parties. At any rate, if a gentleman comes 
up to her and asks her to dance, she must not reply, as a 
celebrated English beauty once did at the Tuileries, " I 
have not the pleasure of your acquaintance," by which she 
acquired the reputation of very bad breeding. 

A young lady must be very careful how she refuses to 
dance with a gentleman. Next to refusing an offer of 
marriage, few things are so likely to draw upon her the 
indignation of the rejected applicant, for unless a good 
reason is given, he is apt to take it as evidence of a personal 
dislike. There is a great deal of polite (?) falsehood used 
on these occasions. " I am sorry that I am engaged," " I 
have a slight headache, and do not intend to dance ;" but a 



BALL-ROOM ETIQUETTE. 



341 



lady should never be guilty even of a conventional lie, and 
if she replies very politely, asking to be excused, as she does 
not wish to dance (" with you," being probably her mental 
reservation), a man ought t > be satisfied. At all event- , he 
should never press her to dance after one refusal. The set 
forms which Turveydrop would give for the invitation are 
too much of the deportment school to be used in practice. 
If you know a young lady slightly, it is sufficient to say to 
her, " May I have the pleasure of dancing this waltz, &c. 
with you ?" or if intimately, " Will you dance, Miss A — V 
The young lady who has refused one gentleman has no right 
to accept another for that dance ■ and young ladies who do not 
wish to be annoyed must take care not to accept two gentle- 
men for the same dance. In Germany such innocent blunders 
often cause fatal results. Two partners arrive at the same 
moment to claim the fair one's hand \ she vows she has not 
made a mistake \ " was sure she was engaged to Herr A — , 
and not to Herr B — Herr B — is equally certain that 
she was engaged to him. The awkwardness is, that if he at 
once gives her up, he appears to be indifferent about it ; 
while, if he presses his suit, he must quarrel with Herr 
A — -, unless the damsel is clever enough to satisfy both of 
them : and particularly if there is an especial interest in 
Herr B — , he yields at last, but when the dance is over, 
sends a friend to Herr A — . Absurd as all this is, it is 
common, and I have often seen one Herr or the other walk- 
ing about with a huge gash on his cheek, or his arm in a 
sling, a few days after a ball. 

Friendship, it appears, can be let ouirbn hire. The lady 
who was so very amiable to you last night, has a right to 
ignore your existence to-day. In fact, a ball-room acquaint- 
ance rarely goes any farther, until you have met at more 
balls than one. In the same way a man cannot, after being 
introduced to a young lady to dance with, ask her to do so 
more than twice in the same evening. On the Continent, 
however intimate, he must never dance twice with the same 
lady, that is, if she be unmarried. Mamma would interfere, 



342 



BALLS. 



and ask his intentions if he did so. In England, a man of 
sense will select at most one or two partners, and dance with 
them alternately the whole evening. But then he must 
expect comment thereupon, and a young lady who does not 
wish to have her name coupled with his, will not allow him 
to single her out in this manner. However, a man may 
dance four or even five times with the same partner without 
this risk. On the other hand, a really well-bred man will 
wish to be useful, and there are certain people whom it is im- 
perative on him to ask to dance — the daughters of the house, 
for instance, and any young ladies whom he may know 
intimately ; but most of all the well-bred and amiable man 
will sacrifice himself to those plain, ill-dressed, dull-looking 
beings who cling to the wall, unsought and despairing. 
After all, he will not regret his good-nature. The spirits 
reviving at the unexpected invitation, the wall-flower will 
pour out her best conversation, will dance her best, and 
will show him her gratitude in some way or other. So, 
too, an amiable girl will do her best to find partners for 
her wall-flower friends, even at the risk of sitting out 
herself. 

The formal bow at the end of a quadrille has gradually 
dwindled away. At the end of every dance you offer your 
right arm to your partner (if by mistake you offer the left, 
you may turn the blunder into a pretty compliment, by 
reminding her that it is le hras du coeur, nearest the heart, 
which if not anatomically true, is at least no worse than 
talking of a sunset and sunrise), and walk half round the 
room with her. You then ask her if she will take any refresh- 
ment, and, if she accepts, you convey your precious allotment 
of tarlatane to the refreshment-room to be invigorated by an 
ice or negus, or what you will. It is judicious not to 
linger too long in this room, if you are engaged to some one 
else for the next dance. You will have the pleasure of 
hearing the music begin in the distant ball-room, and of 
reflecting that an expectant fair is sighing for you like 
Mariana — - 



BALL-ROOM MANNERS. 



343 



" He cometh not," she said. 
She said, " I am a-weary a-weary, 
I would I were in bed ;" 

which is not an unfrequent wish in some ball-rooms. A well- 
bred girl, too, will remember this, and always offer to return 
to the ball-room, however interesting the conversation. 

If you are prudent you will not dance every dance, nor, 
in fact, much more than half the number on the list ; you 
will then escape that hateful redness of face at the time, 
and that wearing fatigue the next day which are among 
the worst features of a ball. Again, a gentleman must 
remember that a ball is essentially a lady's party, and in 
their presence he should be gentle and delicate almost to a 
fault, never pushing his way, apologizing if he tread on 
a dress, still more so if he tears it, begging pardon for any 
accidental annoyance he may occasion, and addressing every- 
body with a smile. But quite unpardonable are those men 
whom one sometimes meets, who, standing in a door-way, 
talk and laugh as they would in a barrack or college-rooms, 
always coarsely, often indelicately. What must the state 
of their minds be if the sight of beauty, modesty, and virtue 
does not awe them into silence. A man, too, who strolls 
down the room with his head in the air, looking as if there 
were not a creature there worth dancing with, is an ill-bred 
man, so is he who looks bored ; and worse than all is he 
who takes too much champagne. 

If you are dancing with a young lady when the supper- 
room is opened, you must ask her if she would like to go 
to supper, and if she says " yes, 1 ' which, in 999 cases out of 
1000, she certainly will do, you must take her thither. If 
you are not dancing the lady of the house will probably recruit 
you to take in some chaperon. However little you may 
relish this, you must not show your disgust. In fact, no 
man ought to be disgusted at being able to do anything for 
a lady ; it should be his highest privilege, but it is not — 
in these modern unchivalrous days — perhaps never was so. 
Having placed your partner then at the supper-table, if 



Mi 



BALLS. 



there is room there, but if not at a side-table, or even at none, 
you must be as active as Puck in attending to her wants, 
and as women take as long to settle their fancies in edibles 
as in love-matters, you had better at once get her some- 
thing substantial, chicken, pate de foie gras, mayonnaise, or 
what you will. Afterwards come jelly and trifle in due 
course. 

A young lady often goes down half-a-dozen times to the 
supper-room — it is to be hoped not for the purpose of eat- 
ing — but she should not do so with the same partner 
more than once. While the lady is supping you must 
stand by and talk to her, attending to every want, and the 
most you may take yourself is a glass of champagne when 
you help her. You then lead her up stairs again, and if 
you are not wanted there any more, you may steal down 
and do a little quiet refreshment on your own account. 
As long, however, as there are many ladies still at the 
table, you have no right to begin. Nothing marks a man 
here so much as gorging at supper. Balls are meant for 
dancing, not eating, and unfortunately too many young 
men forget this in the present day. Lastly, be careful 
what you say and how you dance after supper, even more 
so than before it, for if you in the slightest way displease a 
young lady, she may fancy that you have been too partial 
to strong fluids, and ladies never forgive that. It would 
be hard on the lady of the house if everybody leaving a 
large ball thought it necessary to wish her good-night. 
In quitting a small dance, however, a parting bow is ex- 
pected. It is then that the pretty daughter of the house 
gives you that sweet smile of which you dream afterwards 
in a gooseberry nightmare of " tum-tum-tiddy-tum," and 
waltzes h deux temps, and masses of tarlatane and bright 
eyes, flushed cheeks and dewy glances. See them to-mor- 
row, my dear fellow, it will cure you. 

I think flirtation comes under the head of morals more 
than of mariners ; still I may be allowed to say that ball- 
room flirtation being more open is less dangerous than any 



PUBLIC BALLS. 



other. But a young lady of taste will be careful not to 
flaunt and publish her flirtation, as if to say, " See, I have 
an admirer I" In the same way a prudent man will never 
presume on a girl's liveliness or banter. No man of taste 
ever made an offer after supper, and certainly nine-tenths 
of those who have done so have regretted it at breakfast 
the next morning. 

Public balls are not much frequented by people of good 
society, except in watering-places and country towns. Even 
there a young lady should not be seen at more than two 
or three in the year. County-balls, race-balls, and hunt-balls, 
are generally better than common subscription-balls. Charity- 
balls are an abominable anomaly. At public balls there 
are generally either three or four stewards on duty, or a 
professional master of ceremonies. These gentlemen having 
made all the arrangements, order the dances, and have 
power to change them if desirable. They also undertake 
to present young men to ladies, but it must be understood 
that such an introduction is only available for one dance. It 
is better taste to ask the steward to introduce you simply 
to a partner, than to point out any lady in particular. He 
will probably then ask you if you have a choice, and if not, 
you may' be certain he will take you to an established wall- 
flower. Public balls are scarcely enjoyable unless you have 
your own party. 

As the great charm of a ball is its perfect accord and 
harmony, all altercations, loud talking, &c, are doubly ill- 
mannered in a ball-room. Very little suffices to disturb the 
peace of the whole company. 



2x 



CHAPTER XIV. 



MORNING AND EVENING PARTIES. 



When all the flower of Greece turned out at the cry of the 
Argive King, manned their heavy triremes and sailed away 
to Tenedos, do you imagine that one-fiftieth part of their 
number cared as much as a shield-strap for that lady of the 
white arms but black reputation, whom the handsomest 
man of his day had persuaded to "fly beyond her fate's 
control do you believe that it was for fair false Helen 
that they resolved to sack Troy 1 Not a bit of it, it was 
only an excuse for " making a party." So, too, it was 
only for the party and the fun that all those helmeted, 
scarved, iron-cased knights, most preux and gallant, quitted 
the bowers of their lady-loves (which, to say truth, must 
have been rather dull in days when there were no cheap 
novels, no pianos, no crochet, no chess, no backgammon, 
and no newspapers to talk about), and trotted off to Pales- 
tine, determined to return with the scalp of a Saladin. 
Why, if you were to examine the consciences of nine-tenths 
of those same chivalrous gentlemen, you would find the 
motive probably made up of the following ingredients in the 
following proportions : — 



Keligion, 
Hatred of Turks, 



1 
2 

3 
4 
5 



The wish of my lady-love, 
Because it's the fashion, 
Love of bloodshed, 



For the sake of the party, 



15 



346 



MAKING A PARTY. 



347 



In other ■words, all the other motives together would not 
outbalance that prime consideration. 

People will make a party for anything. " Make a party 
to see the sun set " make a party to take a walk make 
a party to hear the nightingale " make a party to go to 
church " make a party to go nowhere near church, but 
to Hampstead Heath instead " make a party to ride a 
donkey ;" " make a party to play at a new game " make 
a party to do nothing at all." There are people — very good 
people they think themselves too — who cannot even read 
their bibles without a party, and the very people who rail 
at balls and parties, and amusement of any land, will most 
^^ostentatiously make a party to see them give away a 
hundred cups of tea or fifty pinafores, which act then goes 
in the world by the name of ££ charity/' I don't think the 
Pharisees were quite so bad as this, because if they did do 
their good deeds in public, they did not make a party to 
come and see them, unless indeed the sounding of a trum- 
pet was the Hebrew way of sending out invitations. 

However, this is not my present business. The system of 
gathering a little assembly to join in every pleasure, as long 
as it is free from ostentation and cant, only shows what so- 
ciable and sympathetic beings we are. For the real objects 
of these parties are not, believe me, the sunset, the walk, 
the nightingale's service, the donkey, the new game, and the 
dispensing of pinafores, but the entertainment of one an- 
other's society, so that all parties having the same ultimate 
aim may be governed by the same laws. I have made an 
exception for dinner and dances, because with many people 
the food and the waltz are the sole object. But in most 
other cases the excuse given for the gathering is precisely 
the kind of thing which could be enjoyed much more in 
solitude, or, at most, with one sympathetic companion. 
Take a pic-nic as an instance. We go miles, at a consider- 
able outlay may be, only to enjoy some beautiful view, or to 
wander in some ancient ruin. Does the small gossip of the 
pic-nic aid us in the enjoyment of the former, or its noisy 



348 MORNING AND EVENING PARTIES. 

prattle hallow rather than disturb the memories of the past 
that haunt the latter 1 

So then the main difference in all kinds of parties lies 
in the selection of the guests, the dress they wear, and the 
peculiar tone of the conversation. Another great distinction 
lies, too, between town and country parties. Let us then 
divide parties under these two general heads. 

Town-parties consist in conversaziones, private concerts, 
private theatricals, tea-parties, and matinees. 

The first, which also go by the names of Eeceptions and 
" At Homes," have for principal object conversation only, so 
that in the selection of guests youth and beauty are less 
considered than talent, distinction, and fashion. An Indian 
prince, a great nobleman, a distinguished foreigner, or a 
celebrated statesman, are considered valuable attractions, 
but it must be a consolation to the lion-huntress to feel 
that if the presence of these curiosities increases the reputa- 
tion of her assemblies, they do by no means add to, but 
rather diminish the general ease of the conversation. On 
the other hand, to assemble as many persons distinguished 
for talents or achievements as possible, must necessarily 
give them brilliance ; and, as I have said, the great behave 
better in the presence of rivals and compeers than where 
they are chief planets. The invitations should be sent out 
from a week to a fortnight beforehand. Tea must be 
served in a separate room, to which the guests are first con- 
ducted, and ices handed at short intervals throughout the 
evening. Sometimes in smaller receptions a supper is 
served, but this is by no means common, as from these 
meetings the ladies generally repair to a ball. The hour 
for meeting is between nine and ten, and the party breaks 
up before one in the morning. The lady and gentleman of 
the house both receive the guests, somewhere near the door 
of the principal room ; or if the reception is a small one, the 
lady joins in the conversation, and comes forward when a 
guest is announced. Two or three rooms must be thrown 
open, curiosities, good engravings, handsome books, rare mU 



CONVERSAZIONI. 



349 



matures, old china, photographs, stereoscopes, and so forth, 
laid out gracefully on the tables, and a liberal supply of 
ottomans, dos-a-dos, and sofas placed about in convenient 
positions, not, however, so as to impede a general movement 
about the rooms. In the larger receptions gentlemen should 
not sit down, and, above all, not linger close to the door but 
come forward and talk sense — not ball-room chit-chat — -to 
such people as they happen to know. Introductions are not 
here the order of the day, as they must be in balls, but the 
lady of the house will take care to introduce gentlemen to 
such ladies as seem to have none to talk to. On the other 
hand, strangers who enter your set for the first time must 
receive the greatest attention — the greater the stranger the 
greater the guest — and must be introduced to the principal 
people. The lady must take care to create circulation, and 
the guests themselves should not be pinioned to one spot or 
one chair. The place occupied by music in these parties is 
a very ridiculous one, because it is generally got up only to 
make a noise, and prevent people being frightened, like 
Robinson Crusoe, at the sound of their own voices. Some- 
times a professional musician or two is introduced ; some- 
times young ladies are called upon to murder Italian or 
mouth out German ; sometimes — not very often — there is 
some charming amateur singing, but unless the professionals 
are very great favourites, or the young ladies have very 
fine voices, or the guests — rarer still — can appreciate good 
melodious speaking music, the touch of the first notes is 
the signal for every one to find their ideas and their tongues. 
So far it must be confessed that the music inspires them, 
and the people who were stupidest before, suddenly shine 
out quite brilliantly ; but it is curious that while the first 
two chords can effect ihis, the remainder, good or bad, is 
drowned and talked down in the most ungrateful manner. 
Nothing can be worse bred than this ; and, therefore, in 
really good society, you will find that people know when to 
use their tongues and when their ears. As to the etiquette 
of music, it is the sole privilege of the lady of the house to 



350 MORNING AND EVENING PARTIES. 

ask a guest to sing or play ; and when lie or she can do so 
they will, if well bred, at once consent, without any palaver. 
A young lady must be led — poor victim — to the piano by 
some gentleman near at hand, who then offers to fetch her 
music for her • and there is one hint which I will venture 
to give to young ladies when they have got their music, 
and have quickly chosen their song or piece : never wait till 
the company is silent, do not go on playing introductory 
bars, and looking round as if you expected them to stop 
talking, for on the one hand, you will seldom succeed in 
making them do so ; on the other, those who notice you 
will think- you are vain of your talents. Make up your 
mind that you are to sing only for the sake of the conversa- 
tion, and be consoled that those who can appreciate your 
singing will draw near and listen. The gentleman who has 
conducted you to the piano now stays to turn over your 
pages for you • take care that he is able to follow you, or 
give him a sign at the proper moment, otherwise he will be 
turning too soon, and bring you both into terrible confu- 
sion. The best way of giving receptions, which cost very 
little, is to fix on some day of the week, and repeat them 
every time it comes round. You then issue invitations to 
a very much larger number than your rooms will hold and 
for the whole course of receptions, so that your friends can 
choose the weeks most convenient to them. If at the first 
party you should only have a dozen guests, do not be dis- 
heartened. If your rooms are well lit up and well arranged, 
and yourself agreeable, they will be filled to excess before 
the middle of the season. 

Private concerts and amateur theatricals ought to be 
very good to be successful. Professionals alone should be 
engaged for the former, none but real amateurs for the 
latter. Both ought to be, but rarely are, followed by a 
supper, since they are generally very fatiguing, if not posi- 
tively trying. In any case, refreshments and ices should 
be handed between the songs and the acts. Private concerts 
are often given in the " morning," that is, from two to 



CONCERTS, TEA-PARTIES, MATINEES. 351 

six P.M. ; in the evening their hours are from eight to eleven. 
The rooms should be arranged in the same manner as for a 
reception, the guests should be seated, and as music is the 
avowed object, a general silence preserved while it lasts. 
Between the songs the conversation ebbs back again, and 
the party takes the general form of a reception. For 
private theatricals, however, where there is no special 
theatre, and where the curtain is hung, as is most common, 
between the folding-doors, the audience-room must be filled 
with chairs and benches in rows, and, if possible, the back 
rows raised higher than the others. These are often re- 
moved when the performance is over, and the guests then 
converse, or sometimes even dance. Diiring the acting it is 
rude to talk, except in a very low tone, and, be it good or 
bad, you would never think of hissing. 

The tea-party is a much more sociable affair, and may vary 
in the number of guests from ten to thirty. The lighting is 
by ordinary lamps and candles ; two rooms suffice, and tea 
should be either handed or set out on a side-table in one of 
them. The guests should be chiefly of one set, and known 
to one another ; but if they are not so, they must be gene- 
rally introduced. The ladies all sit down, and so may the 
gentlemen if they like, which they are, poor things, almost 
forbidden to do at receptions. The entertainment consists 
mostly of music and singing, by ladies and gentlemen pre- 
sent ; but sometimes a few round games are got up for the 
torture of old bachelors like myself. If the singing is good, 
a tea-fight may be a pleasant thing, especially for curates 
and old maids ; but in London it does not come under the 
head of " gaieties," and therefore the invitations to it must 
be given only a day or two before, either by word of mouth 
or a friendly note. 

The matinee requires three things to make it successful, 
good grounds, a good band, and good weather. Money can 
command the first two, but, as we have no check over the 
clerk of the weather, matinees are as well left alone in 
towns, where people will dress exorbitantly for everything 



352 MORNING AND EVENING PARTIES'. 

of this kind. However, if well arranged, and under pro- 
pitious skies, a matinee is a very good thing for Urbanus, 
who loves sunshine, flowers, and gay toilets. The company 
should be very numerous, comprising all the best-dressed 
people you know, for dress is everything on these occasions. 
In addition to a good brass-band, you would do well to ob- 
tain the services of a glee club to sing in the open air 
between the instrumental pieces ; but then a matinee be- 
comes a very expensive entertainment, and so, in fact, it 
must be. You invite your guests for one o'clock, they 
arrive at two, and disperse in time to dress for dinner. 
They content themselves with walking about, listening to 
the music, and taking refreshments, or if you give it them, 
a lunch, in the large marquee, which, of course, you have 
had erected on the lawn. You have no trouble with your 
guests, and never dream of introducing them ; you bring 
them together under propitious circumstances, and they 
must amuse themselves. In matinees abroad they often 
dance. They are there very fashionable and much liked. 
In these open-air parties, in large towns and their neigh- 
bourhood, people who do not know one another remain in 
that condition ; they are rarely, if ever, introduced, and 
they never dream of speaking to one another without an 
introduction. Very different, and much more sensible, is the 
foreign custom. 

For these town-parties, there are one or two general 
rules : The hostess should not be too empresse nor bustling 
in her welcome, she should receive every one alike with 
amiable dignity, and above all, if she expects a lion or a 
grandee, should dismiss him from her thoughts till he 
comes, and then make no difference in his reception to that 
of the other guests. If she does make a distinction, the 
latter will smile cynically at her toadyism, and contrast 
their own reception with that of " the favoured guest." To 
make up for this restraint on her enthusiasm, she is not 
obliged to know much about the domestic affairs of her 
guests. In good company of this kind, the babies and 



COTJNTRY-PAETIES. 



353 



nurserymaids, the son at the Cape, and the daughter in India, 
are forgotten for the time, or reserved for- the smaller tea- 
party. In the conversazioni and receptions, you "will hear 
none but public subjects, — every one's property — brought 
on the tapis. This knot you take for statesmen, for as you 
pass, each one of them is prophesying, with a shrewd look, 
what next step the Emperor will take. No, sir, they are 
simply fathers of families. Here you are certain you have 
lighted on a batch of critics, male and female ; could ever 
any one else show such venom in the discussion of the last 
celebrated book 1 Nothing of the kind ; critics are doves 
in company, and these are only educated men, with as little 
actual connexion with literature as a sailor on the mizen- 
yard. Then these men who are scientifically discussing 
some recent discovery, and hanging profoundly over the fate 
of some engineering enterprise, are merely thinkers, by no 
means professional j while those who talk of Lord John as 
an intimate chum, and Pam. as a man they could clap on 
the shoulder, are not M.P.'s, but only club-loungers. Even 
the gossip takes a public character, and the scandal is about 
people known to the whole world of fashion. Then, again, 
the manner of the guests is calm and easy • there is no 
necessity to create mirth, the laughter is quiet, even the 
wit is received with a smile, and discussions are carried on 
with interest but not with excitement. All the company 
too, is for the time on an equality, and it is bad taste to 
recognise a man's rank in a marked manner. Precedence 
is best laid aside, and the curate may, if he likes, pass out 
of the room before the bishop. In short, the reception is a 
kind of evening lounge. 

Very different is the character of country-parties. If 
they are more sociable and friendly, because almost every- 
body is known to one another, if there is less formality and 
display about them, there is also less equality. If it is not 
necessary to light your rooms brilliantly, and secure the 
services of professional singers, in short, to supply some 
particular attraction, it is incumbent to bow to the local 
2 Y 



351 MORNING AND EVENING PARTIES. 

position held by each guest. Not indeed that this is good 
style, but that it is expected by people who very often have 
little more than their position to recommend them. The 
deputy-lieutenant may be a much duller man than the small 
squire, but in his own county he would take it very ill if 
you did not show him more attention than to the other. The 
vicar may, and often is far less agreeable than the curate, 
but the latter would never dream of making a move to go 
before the stately incumbent had risen. Then, too, the 
conversation always verges on local and rural topics. The 
two squires talk of crops, game, boundaries, and magisterial 
questions, and find them far more interesting than the fate 
of Europe. Their wives discuss the flower-show, the hunt- 
ball, the return of some family to the neighbourhood. The 
young people get a step farther in year-long flirtations, and 
discuss with more or less acerbity the engagements of their 
mutual friends. In short, people, rather than things, are 
the themes of interest, and a stranger in a country-party 
finds himself almost a foreigner in the land. And woe to 
him if he does not know by what title your nearest pack 
of hounds is called, or is ignorant of the noble sport of hunt- 
ing, for, heavy-headed after their huge dinners, he will find 
most of the gentlemen unable to exert their brains farther 
than to recall " that splendid run," or speculate on whether 
the next " master " will be a light or a heavy weight. 

However, in country-parties, the strangers in the land 
receive as a rule the greatest attention, and if you, coming 
from town, find the company heavy, and the conversation 
narrow, you will at least have the consolation of infusing 
new spirit into, and quickening the movement, of clogged 
brains. 

Country-parties consist chiefly of small dances which are 
not balls ; tea-parties ; private fetes, which are much the 
same as the matinees already described ; and pic-nics. 
Sociability and easy mirth is the main feature in all of 

m. As you are among people whom you know for the 
part, you may be more familiar in your general 



TEHC-EE GKOtJIvD. 



355 



manners, and to be agreeable, you are expected to be merry, 
humorous, and ready for anything that may be proposed. 
On the other hand, as prejudices are always greater in pro- 
portion to the narrowness of the mind, and are sometimes 
especially deep-rooted in the squires and clergymen whom 
you meet in these gatherings, you must be very careful how 
you approach the topics which most interest them. I 
have known a whole party, at one moment full of merri- 
ment and laughter, suddenly cast into the deepest gloom of 
horror and dismay, by the innocent allusion of a stranger to 
" M.B." waistcoats, the rector who was present being high- 
church. On the same principle it is wise to avoid speaking 
much of the church itself, the schools, the dispensary, the 
preserves, the poor, and so forth, of the village, as country 
people are somewhat given to making these subjects matters 
for serious difference, and it is a rare case for the squire and 
the clergyman to be perfectly agreed on all points where 
their supposed rights can possibly clash. I have known a 
village divided into a deadly feud for ten years by nothing 
but the pews in the church — one party wishing to keep 
them, and another to pull them down ; and, though these 
religious-minded people met perhaps once a month at various 
tea-parties and dinners, the church was never spoken of, 
and a stranger who might have unconsciously mentioned 
the pews therein, would have thrown in a firebrand which 
would have lit up the whole parish. 

On entering a country party, you at once seek out the 
lady of the house, and shake hands with her. The same 
process is then performed with those members of the family 
whom you know, and any other of your acquaintance pre- 
sent. In taking leave the same process is repeated, and a 
simple bow would generally be considered as an impolite- 
ness. The invitations to these parties partake of the same 
sociable character, and are made by friendly notes sent a 
few days beforehand, or even on the very day itself. You 
have not the same liberty of declining them as in town, nor 
can you have recourse to the polite formula of a " previous 



356 



MOKNING AND EVENING PARTIES. 



engagement," since everybody knows what is going on in the 
neighbourhood, and who is to be at any party. You must 
therefore rind a good excuse or go. For my part, I think we 
should be better Christians, and just as friendly, if we stated 
our real reasons : "I regret that I have not the time to spare," 
" I do not feel inclined for society," or, " I have no dress 
for the occasion." Such replies might create a little surprise, 
but people must admire their candour, and everybody could 
sympathize with the writer's feelings. At any rate, you must 
avoid a sneer such as that given by a too candid lady to a 
clergyman's wife who had invited her to a quiet little discus- 
sion of muffins on Shrove Tuesday. " I regret," she wrote, 
" that I shall be unable to accept your invitation, as' the near 
approach of Lent would preclude my joining in any festivities." 

Country hours, again, are much earlier than those in 
town. Except at great houses, where the dinner hour is 
seven, eight o'clock is the usual time for a tea-party to begin, 
and before twelve the last guest departs. It is necessary 
to be punctual in the country, whatever you may be in 
town ; and it would be considered as an unwarrantable 
assumption of fashion to arrive an hour after the time stated 
in the invitation. 

Tea is handed in the drawing-room, or, if the party be a 
small one, so arranged that all may sit round. In the latter 
case the tea-table must be plenteously spread with cakes, 
fruit, &c. &c. Appetites flourish in the free air of hills and 
meadows, and, as a rule, country parties have more of the 
feeding system about them than those of town. Thus, 
unless dinner has been at a late hour, it is usual to have a 
supper laid out, or at least sandwiches, jellies, and trifle at 
a side-table. This, I must say, is a more agreeable feature 
of country entertainments than that of round games. At 
these, however, you must not look bored ; you must really 
for the time believe yourself a child again, allow yourself to 
be amused, and enter heart and soul into it. Endeavour 
by every means in your power to add to the general hila- 
rity; talk without restraint, enter into innocent rivalry with 



OUT-OF-DOORS. 



357 



the young ladies ; or if one of them yourself, challenge 
the youthful, especially the shy, of the other sex. You must 
find something to laugh at in the merest trifle, but never 
roar or shriek. Never claim your winnings, but if they are 
offered you must take them, except from a young lady, and 
from her on no consideration. 

While we are melting here under the dog-star, and crush- 
ing up crowded staircases, and into ovens of rooms in the 
tightest dress that is worn, our country cousins are really 
enjoying themselves. They are now having tea out on the 
lawn, with bond fide cream to it too, none of our miserable 
delusions of calves' brains (beautiful satire on those who 
credulously swallow them) or chalk and water. Then when 
tea is done, they are positively going to dance here on the 
lawn, or there in that large empty out-house, resolved that 
nothing shall induce them to go into the house again till 
night ; and if they do not dance, they bring out every chair 
that is in it, and sitting round, play at hunt-the-ring, post, 
turning the trencher, or Blind Man's Buff. What dear children 
they are ! how pleasant to see the old gentlemen dragged in 
by the young girls, and made to play nolentes volentes ! how 
charming the laughter of these merry maidens, and the 
playful flirtation of the sturdy youths, who all day long 
have been carrying a gun or breaking a new horse in ! Well, 
well, if there is beauty enough to make us bless the ex- 
citement which brings the colour to some lovely cheek, — if 
the young men can really help looking bored, and the old 
ones sham delight (as we old ones can, let- me tell you, sir), 
why, then, these out-door gaieties may be fresh and reviving 
and cheering to us dusty, withered, smoke-dried townsmen. 
But then where is conversation 1 Swamped in badinage 
which, if I am not a young lover, I cannot possibly pump 
up. And where is that flow of thought and diversity of 
imagination which makes one hour with a clever man or a 
femme d 'esprit worth twenty-four in the presence of a mere 
beauty and animal spirits ? Not there. 

So, then, they are matters of taste these little parties, 



358 MORNING AND EVENING PARTIES. 

but not so the etiquette they require. You must be gay, 
you must laugh and chuckle and all that, but you must not 
overdo it ; you must not let your merriment carry you away. 
In out-door games especially, you must be careful not to 
romp, not to rush and tear about, nor be boisterously merry. 
It may be difficult to steer between the Scylla of dullness 
and the Charybdis of romping, but you must always remem- 
ber what dear fragile things the ladies are, and treat them 
tenderly. These games are, in fact, a severe test of politeness, 
grace, and delicacy, and if I wanted to discover your title 
to the name of gentleman or lady, I should set you to play 
at post or hunt-the-ring, or what not of child's sport. 

Lastly, as to pic-nics, they are no longer the cheery 
gatherings of other days, when each person brought his 
quantum, and when on opening the baskets- there were 
found to be three pigeon-pies but no bread, four contribu- 
tions of mustard but no salt, dozens of wine but no beer, 
and so on. The only thing you are asked to bring in the 
present day is your very best spirits ; and everybody is ex- 
pected to contribute these, for you cannot have too much 
of them. A castle, a church, or something to see, about 
which to create an interest, is necessary to a successful 
pic-nic, much more so than champagne, which it is perhaps 
safer not to have, though it is always expected. Servants 
ought, if possible, to be dispensed with, and a free flow of 
the easiest merriment, not free in itself, it will be under- 
stood, should be allowed and encouraged. 

The collation, cold of course, is generally the first object 
after arriving at the rendezvous. It is of necessity somewhat 
rough, for these same pic-nics are the happy occasions when 
people try to forget that they are highly civilized, but are 
scarcely ever allowed to do so. However, nothing is more 
justly ridiculous than that people who come out to play the 
rustic should be accompanied by a bevy of Mercuries, and 
that while we attempt to imitate the simplicity of rural 
dryad life, spreading our viands beneath the shady trees, 
we should have some half-dozen stately acolytes of fashion 



PIC-NICS. 



359 



moving about us with all the solemnity of a London dinner- 
party. The servants then should be driven away cb force 
cFarmes, and the gentlemen take their place. Then see how 
immensely it increases the general hilarity to watch Fitz- 
boots of the Muffineers sent about by the pretty misses, 
made of use for the first time in his life, and with his 
hands so full that he cannot even stroke out his splendid 
whiskers. 

Certainly the barriers of society ought to be broken down 
on these occasions. Everybody should be perfectly at his 
ease, and if the people are really well bred, the liberty thus 
given will not be the least abused. A man who drinks too 
much champagne, or a young lady who strolls away for a 
couple of hours with a young man among the ruins or in 
the wood, should scarcely be asked to join a second pic-nic. 
Then, too, free as they are, gay, laughing, and careless, they 
should not descend to noisy romping. There ought to be 
a fair sprinkling of chaperons and elderly people, not to 
damp the gaiety but to restrain the carelessness of the 
younger ones. After all, let youth be youth, and let it 
have its fling. If it be really innocent and well brought 
up, Miss Etiquette, prim old maid, will have nothing to 
say ; if otherwise, then she may preach in vain at a carni- 
val. If our spirits are good (and I feel quite young again 
in talking of these things) let us enjoy them to the fullest, 
and be as silly and as wild as the youngest. Never shoot 
a skylark while soaring ; never curb young mirth in its 
proper enjoyment. % 



CHAPTER XV. 



MARRIAGE. 

At a time when our feelings are or ought to be most sus- 
ceptible, when the happiness or misery of a condition in 
which there is no medium begins, we are surrounded with 
forms and etiquettes which rise before the unwary like 
spectres, and which even the most rigid ceremonialists 
regard with a sort of dread. 

"Were it not, however, for these forms, and for this neces- 
sity of being en regie, there might, on the solemnization of 
marriage, be confusion, forgetfulness, and even — speak it 
not aloud — irritation among the parties most intimately 
concerned. Excitement might ruin all. Without a defi- 
nite programme, the old maids of the family would be 
thrusting in advice. The aged chronicler of past events, 
or grandmother by the fireside, would have it all her way ; 
the venerable bachelor in tights, with his blue coat and 
metal buttons, might throw everything into confusion by 
his suggestions. It is well that we are independent of all 
these interfering advisers ; that there is no necessity to 
appeal to them. Precedent has arranged it all ; we have 
only .to put in or understand what that stern authority has 
laid down ; how it has been varied by modern changes ; 
and we must just shape our course boldly. " Boldly 
But there is much to be done before we come to that. 
First, there is the offer to be made. Well may a man who 
contemplates such a step say to himself, with Dryden, 

" These are the realms of everlasting fate ;" 
for, in truth, on marriage one's wellbeing not only here but 
3C0 



PEEUMINAEIES. 



361 



even hereafter mainly depends. But it is not on this bearing 
of the subject that we wish to enter, contenting ourselves 
with a quotation from the Spectator: 

" It requires more virtues to make a good husband or 
wife, than what go to the finishing any the most shining 
character whatsoever." 

England is distinguished from most of the continental 
countries by the system of forming engagements, and the 
mode in which they are carried on until terminated by 
marriage. 

In France, an engagement is an affair of negotiation 
and business ; and the system in this respect greatly re- 
sembles the practice in England, on similar occasions, a 
hundred and fifty or two hundred years ago, or even later. 
France is the most unchanging country in the world in 
her habits and domestic institutions, and foremost among 
these is her " Marriage de convenance" or u Marriage de 
raison." 

It is thus brought about. So soon as a young girl quits 
the school or convent where she has been educated, her 
friends cast about for a suitable parti. Most parents in 
France take care, so soon as a daughter is born, to put 
aside a sum of money for her " dot" as they well know that 
whatever may be her attractions, that is indispensable in 
order to be married. They are ever on the look out for a 
youth with at least an equal fortune, or more ; or, if they 
are rich, for title, which is deemed tantamount to fortune ; 
even the power of writing those two little letters De before 
your name has some value in the marriage contract. Having 
satisfied themselves they thus address the young lady : — 
" It is now time for you to be married ; I know of an eli- 
gible match ; you can see the gentleman, either at such a 
ball or (if he is serious) at church. I do not ask you to 
take him if his appearance is positively disagreeable to you ; 
if so, we will look out for some one else." 

As a matter of custom, the young lady answers that the 
will of her parents is hers ; she consents to take a survey 
%z 



362 



MARRIAGE. 



of hini to whom her destiny is to be entrusted ; and let us 
presume that he is accepted, though it does not follow, and 
sometimes it takes several months to look out, as it does 
for other matters, a house, or a place, or a pair of horses. 
However, she consents ; a formal introduction takes place ; 
the promis calls in full dress to see his future wife ; they 
are only just to speak to each other, and those few unmean- 
ing words are spoken in the presence of the bride-elect's 
mother ; for the French think it most indiscreet to allow 
the affections of a girl to be interested before marriage, 
lest during the arrangements for the contract all should be 
broken off. If she has no dislike, it is enough ; never for 
an instant are the engaged couple left alone, and in very 
few cases do they go up to the altar with more than a few 
weeks' acquaintance, and usually with less. The whole 
matter is then arranged by notaries, who squabble over the 
marriage-contract, and get all they can for their clients. 

The contract is usually signed in France on the day 
before the marriage, when all is considered safe ; the reli- 
gious portion of their bond takes place in the church, and 
then the two young creatures are left together to understand 
each other if they can, and to love each other if they will ; 
if not they must content themselves with what is termed, 
un menage de Paris. 

In England formerly much the same system' prevailed. 
A boy of fourteen, before going on his travels, was con- 
tracted to a girl of eleven, selected as his future wife by 
parents or guardians ; he came back after the grande tour 
to fulfil the engagement. But by law it was imperative 
that forty days should at least pass between the contract 
and the marriage ; during which dreary interval the couple, 
leashed together like two young greyhounds, would have 
time to think of the future. In France, the perilous 
period of reflection is not allowed. " I really am so glad 
we are to take a journey," said a young French lady to her 
friends ; " I shall thus get to know something about my 
husband ; he is quite a stranger to me." Some striking in- 



THE PROPOSAL. 



363 



stances of the Marriage de convenance being infringed on, 
have lately occurred in France. The late Monsieur de Toc- 
queville married for love, after a five years' engagement. 
Guizot, probably influenced by his acquaintance with Eng- 
land, gave his daughters liberty to choose for themselves, and 
they married for love* — " a very indelicate proceeding," 
remarked a French comtesse of the old regime, when speak- 
ing of this arrangement. 

Nothing can be more opposed to all this than our Eng- 
lish system. We are so tenacious of the freedom of choice, 
that even persuasion is thought criminal. 

In France negotiations are often commenced on the lady's 
side ; in England, never. Even too encouraging a manner, 
even the ordinary attentions of civility, are occasionally a 
matter of reproach. We English are jealous of the delicacy 
of that sacred bond, which we presume to hope is to spring 
out of mutual affection. It is not here our province to 
inquire what are the causes that have so sullied the mar- 
riage tie in England ; what are the reasons that it seldom 
holds out all that it promises ; we have only to treat of the 
rules and etiquettes which preface the union. A gentleman 
who, from whatever motives, has made up his mind to marry, 
may set about it in two ways. He may propose by letter or 
in words. The customs of English society imply the neces- 
sity of a sufficient knowledge of the lady to be addressed. 
This, even in this country, is a difficult point to be attained ; 
and, after all, cannot be calculated by time, since, in large 
cities, you may know people a year, and yet be comparative 
strangers ; and, meeting them in the country, may become 
intimate in a week. 

Having made up his mind, the gentleman offers — wisely, 
if he can, in speech. Letters are seldom expressive of what 
really passes in the mind of man ; or, if expressive, seem 
foolish, since deep feelings are liable to exaggeration. 
Every written word may be the theme of cavil. Study, 



* Two brothers, named De Witte. 

I 



364 



MARRIAGE. 



care, which avail in every other species of composition, are 
death to the lover's effusion. A few sentences, spoken in 
earnest, and broken by emotion, are more eloquent than 
pages of sentiment, both to parent and daughter. Let 
him, however, speak and be accepted. He is in that case 
instantly taken into the intimacy of his adopted relatives. 
Such is the notion of English honour, that the engaged 
couple are henceforth allowed to be frequently alone to- 
gether, in -walking and at home. If there be no known 
obstacle to the engagement, the gentleman and lady are 
mutually introduced to the respective relatives of each. It 
is for the gentleman's family to call first ; for him to make 
the first present ; and this should be done as soon as possible 
after the offer has been accepted. It is a sort of seal put 
upon the affair. The absence of presents is thought to imply 
want of earnestness in the matter. This present generally 
consists of some personal ornament, say, a ring, and should 
be handsome, but not so handsome as that made for the 
wedding-day. During the period that elapses before the 
marriage, the betrothed man should conduct himself with 
peculiar deference to the lady's family and friends, even if 
beneath his own station. It is often said : "I marry such 
a lady, but I do not mean to marry her whole family." 
This disrespectful pleasantry has something in it so cold, so 
selfish, that even if the lady's family be disagreeable, there 
is a total absence of delicate feeling to her in thus speaking 
of those nearest to her. To her parents especially, the con- 
duct of the betrothed man should be respectful ; to her 
sisters kind, without familiarity ; to her brothers, every 
evidence of good-will should be testified. In making 
every provision for the future, in regard to settlements, 
allowance for dress, &c, the extent of liberality conve- 
nient should be the spirit of ail arrangements. Perfect 
candour as to his own affairs, respectful consideration for 
those of the family he is about to enter, mark a true 
gentleman. 

In France, however gay and even blameable a man may 



ENGAGEMENTS. 



365 



have been before Ms betrothal, be conducts himself with 
the utmost propriety after that event. A sense of what is 
due to a lady should repress all habits unpleasant to her : 
smoking, if disagreeable ; frequenting places of amusement 
without her ; or paying attention to other women. In this 
respect, indeed, the sense of honour should lead a man to 
be as scrupulous when his future wife, is absent as when she 
is present, if not more so. These rules of conduct apply 
in some respects to ladies also. Nothing is so disgusting 
or unpromising for the future as the flirtations which 
engaged young ladies permit themselves to carry on after 
they have pledged themselves to one person alone. This 
display of bad taste and vanity often leads to serious 
unhappiness, and the impropriety, if not folly, should be 
strongly pointed out to the young lady herself. 

The attitude assumed by a flirt is often the impulse of 
folly more than of boldness. It is agreeable to her vanity, 
she finds, to excite jealousy, and to show her power. Even 
if the rash and transient triumph produce no lasting effect 
on the peace of mind before marriage, it is often recalled 
with bitterness after marriage by him who was then a slave, 
but is now a master. 

In equally bad taste is exclusiveness. The devotions of 
two engaged people should be reserved for the tete-ct-tete, 
and women are generally in fault when it is otherwise. 
They like to exhibit their conquest ; they cannot dispense 
with attentions ; they forget that the demonstration of any 
peculiar condition of things in society must make some one 
uncomfortable ; the young lady is uncomfortable because 
she is not equally happy • the young man detests what he 
calls nonsense ; the old think there is a time for all things. 
All sitting apart, therefore, and peculiar displays, are in bad 
taste ; I am inclined to think that they often accompany 
insincerity, and that the truest affections are those which 
are reserved for the genuine and heartfelt intimacy of 
private interviews. At the same time, the airs of indiffer- 
ence and avoidance should be equally guarded against ; 



3GG 



MARRIAGE. 



since, however strong a mutual attachment may be, such 
a line of conduct is apt needlessly to mislead others, and so 
produce mischief. True feeling, and a ladylike considera- 
tion for others, a point in which the present generation 
essentially fails, are the best guides for steering between the 
extremes of demonstration on the one hand, and of frigidity 
on the other. 

During the arrangement of pecuniary matters, a young 
lady should endeavour to understand what is going on, re- 
ceiving it in a right spirit. If she has fortune, she should, 
in all points left to her, be generous and confiding, at the 
same time prudent. Many a man, she should remember, 
may abound in excellent qualities, and yet be improvident. 
He may mean to do well, yet have a passion for building ; 
he may be the very soul of good-nature, yet fond of the 
gaming-table ; he may have no wrong propensities of that 
sort, and yet have a confused notion of accounts, and be 
one of those men who muddle away a great deal of money 
no one knows how ; or he may be a too strict economist, 
a man who takes too good care of the pence, till he tires 
your very life out about an extra queen's-head ; or he may 
be facile and weakly good-natured, and have a friend who 
preys on him, and for whom he is disposed to become secu- 
rity. Finally, the beloved Charles, Henry, or Reginald 
may have none of these propensities, but may chance to be 
an honest merchant, or a tradesman, with all his floating 
capital in business, and a consequent risk of being one day 
rich, the next a pauper. 

Upon every account, therefore, it is desirable for a young 
lady to have a settlement on her ; and she should not, from 
a weak spirit of romance, oppose her friends who advise it, 
since it is for her husband's advantage as well as her own. 
By making a settlement there is always a fund which cannot 
be touched — a something, however small, as a provision for 
a wife and children ; and, whether she have fortune or not, 
this ought to be made. An allowance for dress should also 
be arranged ; and this should be administered in such a 



THE LICENSE AND THE TKOUSSEATJ. 367 

way that a wife should not have to ask for it at inconvenient 
hours, and thus irritate her husband. 

Every preliminary being settled, there remains nothing 
except to fix the marriage day, a point always left to the 
lady to advance ; and next to settle how the ceremonial is 
to be performed is the subject of consideration. 

Marriage by banns is confined to the poorer classes ; and 
a license is generally obtained by those who aspire to the 
" habits of good society." It is within the recollection of 
many, even middle-aged persons, that the higher classes 
were, some twenty years ago, married only by special license 
— a process costing about £50 instead of £5 : and therefore 
supposed by our commercial country especially to denote 
good society. Special licenses have, however, become un- 
fashionable. They were obtained chiefly on account of their 
enabling persons to be married at any hour, whereas the 
canon prescribes the forenoon ; after mid-day it is illegal 
to celebrate a marriage. In some instances, during the 
Crimean war, special licenses were resorted to to unite 
couples — when the bridegroom-elect had been ordered off, 
and felt, with his bride, that it were happier for both to be- 
long to each other even in death. But the ordinary couples 
walk up to the altars of their respective parish churches. 

It is to be lamented that previously to so solemn a 
ceremony, the thoughts of the lady concerned must neces- 
sarily be engaged for some time upon her trousseau. The 
trousseau consists, in this country, of all the ha bilim ents 
necessary for a lady's use for the first two or three years of 
her married life ; like every other outfit there are always 
a number of articles introduced into it that are next to 
useless, and are only calculated for the vain-glory of the 
ostentatious. A trousseau may, in quiet life, be formed 
upon so low a sum as £60 or £70 ; it seldom costs, how- 
ever, less than £100, and often mounts up to £500. By 
which useless extravagance a mass of things that soon 
cease to be fashionable, or that wear out from being laid 
by, is accumulated, 



36S 



MARRIAGE. 



The trousseau being completed, and the day fixed, it 
becomes necessary to select the bridesmaids and the bride- 
groom's man, and to invite the guests. 

The bridesmaids are from two to eight in number. It 
is ridiculous to have many, as the real intention of the 
bridesmaid is, that she should act as a witness of the mar- 
riage. It is, however, thought a compliment to include the 
bride's sisters and those of the bridegroom's relations and 
intimate friends, in case sisters do not exist. 

When a bride is young the bridesmaids should be young ; 
but it is absurd to see a " single woman of a certain age," 
or a widow, surrounded by blooming girls, making her look 
plain and foolish. For them the discreet woman of thirty- 
five is more suitable as a bridesmaid. Custom decides that 
the bridesmaids should be spinsters, but there is no legal 
objection to a married woman being a bridesmaid should it 
be' necessary, as it might be abroad, or at sea, or where 
ladies are few in number. Great care should be taken 
not to give offence in the choice of bridesmaids by a 
preference, which is always in bad taste on momentous 
occasions. 

The guests at the wedding should be -selected with 
similar attention to what is right and kind, with considera- 
tion to those who have a claim on us, not only to what 
we ourselves prefer. 

In London, for a great wedding breakfast, it is customary 
to send out printed cards from the parents or guardians 
from whose house the young lady is to be married. 

Early in the day, before eleven, the bride should be 
dressed, taking breakfast in her own room. In England 
we load a bride with lace flounces on a rich silk, and even 
sometimes with ornaments. In France it is always re- 
membered, with better taste, that when a young lady goes 
up to the altar, she is " encore jeune fille ;" her dress, 
therefore, is exquisitely simple ; a dress of tulle over white 
silk, a long wide veil of white tulle, going down to the 
very feet, a wreath of maiden-blush-roses interspersed with 



WEDDING-GARMENTS. 



369 



orange flowers. This is the usual costume of a French bride 
of rank, or in the middle classes equally. In England, 
however, one must conform to the established custom, 
although it is much to be wished that in the. classes who 
can set the example, the French usage should be adopted. 
A lace dress over silk is generally worn in England. The 
lace should be of the finest quality. Brussels or Honiton 
is the most delicate and becoming • the veil should be of 
the same sort of lace as the dress. A wreath of roses and 
orange flowers is worn round the head, not confining the 
veil. The silk ought to be plain ; glace', not moire, if the 
bride be young, as the latter is too heavy ; if she is no longer 
young, nothing is so becoming as moire' silk, either white or 
silver grey. Widows and ladies not young are usually married 
in bonnets, which should be of the most elegant description, 
trimmed with flowers or feathers, according to the taste of 
the wearer. 

The gentleman's dress should differ little from his full 
morning costume. The days are gone by when gentlemen 
were married — as a recently deceased friend of mine was — 
in white satin breeches and waistcoat. In these days men 
show less joy in their attire at the fond consummation of 
their hopes, and more in their faces. A dark-blue frock- 
coat — black being superstitiously considered ominous — a 
white waistcoat, and a pair of light trousers, suffice for the 
"happy man." The neck-tie also should be light and 
simple. Polished boots are not amiss, though plain ones 
are better. The gloves must be as white as the linen. 
Both are typical — for in these days types are as important 
as under the Hebrew lawgivers — of the purity of mind and 
heart which are supposed to exist in their wearer. Eheu ! 
after all, he cannot be too well dressed, for the more gay 
he is the greater the compliment to his bride. Flowers in 
the button-hole and a smile on the face show the bride- 
groom to be really a " happy man." 

As soon as the carriages are at the door, those brides- 
maids who happen to be in the house, and the other 
3 a 



370 



MARRIAGE. 



members of the family set off first. The bride goes last, 
with her father and mother, or with her mother alone, and 
the brother or relative who is to represent her. father in 
case of death or absence. The bridegroom, his friend, or 
bridegroom's man, and the bridesmaids ought to be waiting 
in the church. The father of the bride gives her his arm, 
and leads her to the altar. Here her bridesmaids stand 
near her, as arranged by the clerk, and the bridegroom 
takes his appointed place. 

It is a good thing for the bridegroom's man to distribute 
the different fees to the clergyman or clergymen, the 
clerk, and pew-opener, before the arrival of the bride, as it 
prevents confusion afterwards. 

The bride stands to the left of the bridegroom, and 
takes the glove off her right hand, whilst he takes his 
glove off his right hand. The bride gives her glove to the 
bridesmaid to hold, and sometimes to keep, as a good omen. 

The service then begins. During the recital, it is cer- 
tainly a matter of feeling how the parties concerned should 
behave ; but if tears can be restrained, and a quiet modesty 
in the lady displayed, and her emotions subdued, it adds 
much to the gratification of others, and saves a few pangs 
to the parents from whom she is to part. 

It should be remembered that this is but the closing 
scene of a drama of some duration — first the offer, then the 
consent and engagement. In most cases the marriage has 
been preceded by acts which have stamped the whole with 
certainty, although we do not adopt the contract system 
of our forefathers, and although no event in this life can 
be certain. 

I have omitted the mention of the bouquet, because it 
seems to me always an awkward addition to the bride, and 
that it should be presented afterwards on her return to the 
breakfast. Gardenias, if in season, white azalia, or even 
camellias, with very little orange flowers, form the bridal 
bouquet. The bridesmaids are dressed, on this occasion, 
so as to complete the picture with effect. When there are 



THE BREAKFAST. 



371 



six or eight, it is usual for three of them to dress in one 
colour, and three in another. At some of the most fashion- 
able weddings in London, the bridesmaids wear veils — 
these are usually of net or tulle ; white tarlatan dresses, 
over muslin or beautifully-worked dresses, are much worn, 
with colours introduced — pink or blue, and scarves of those 
colours ; and white bonnets, if bonnets are worn, trimmed 
with flowers to correspond. These should be simple, but 
the flowers as natural as possible, and of the finest quality. 
The bouquets of the bridesmaids should be of mixed flowers. 
These they may have at church, but the present custom is 
for the gentleman of the house to present them on their 
return home, previous to the wedding breakfast. 

The register is then signed. The bride quits the church 
first with the bridegroom, and gets into his carriage, and 
the father and mother, bridesmaids, and bridegroom's man, 
follow in order in their own. 

The breakfast is arranged on one or more tables, and is 
generally provided by a confectioner when expense is not 
an object. 

Flowers, skilfully arranged in fine Bohemian glass, or in 
epergnes composed of silver, with glass-dishes, are very 
ornamental on each side of the wedding-cake, which stands 
in the centre. When the breakfast is sent from a confec- 
tioner's, or is arranged in the house by a professed cook, 
the wedding-cake is richly ornamented with flowers, in 
sugar, and a knot of orange-flowers at the top. At each 
end of the table are tea and coffee. Soup is sometimes 
handed. Generally the viands are cold, consisting of poultry 
or game, lobster-salads, chicken or fish ct la Mayornaisses ; 
hams, tongues, potted-meats, prawns, and game-pies ; raisins, 
savoury jellies, sweets of every description — all cold. Ice 
is afterwards handed, and, before the healths are drunk, v 
the wedding-cake is cut by the nearest gentleman and 
handed round. 

The father then proposes the health of the bride and 
bridegroom. The latter is expected to answer, and to 



372 



MARKIAGE. 



propose the bridegroom's man. The bridegroom's man 
returns thanks, and pledges the bridesmaids, who answer 
through the bridegroom. All other toasts are optional, but 
it is de rigueur that the health of the clergyman or clergy- 
men who tied the knot, if present, should be drunk. 

After these ceremonials have been duly performed, and 
ample justice has been done to the breakfast, the bride 
retires, and the company usually take leave of her in the 
drawing-room and depart. 

It must be borne in mind that the wedding-breakfast is 
not a dinner*, and that the gentlemen do not stay behind 
to take wine when the party breaks up and the ladies go 
up stairs. 

A few words before this sometimes gay, sometimes sad 
scene is dismissed. 

The good sense of several personages in the higher ranks 
has broken through the customary appearance of the bride at 
the breakfast, or indeed if she breakfasts at all. In France, 
the friends assembled to witness a wedding do not follow 
the bride home. A ball or soiree generally follows in the 
evening. Most people, one would suppose, would be gladly 
released from the unnatural repast at an unusual hour ; the 
headache that makes the rest of the day miserable ; the 
hurry of the morning ; the lassitude of the afternoon ; the 
tearful, stumbling speeches of " dear papa" after cham- 
pagne ; the modest, shy, broken sentences of the victimized 
bridegroom ; the extremely critical situation of his bachelor 
friend, expected to be in love with all the bridesmaids ; the 
sighs of the mother, and prognostics of maiden aunts ; the 
heat, the disgust to those articles which look so well by 
candlelight, but do not bear daylight — creams, whips, 
jellies, and all that tribe of poisons ; and, worst of all, the 
vast expense to those who pay, and slight degree of pleasure 
to those who do not — these are among the miseries of the 
wedding-breakfast. 

Then the peculiar situation of the bride, tricked Out 
with finery like the bceuf-gras on Shrove-Tuesday, eveiy 



AFTER THE EVENT. 



373 



one staring at her to see how she looks ; her sensitive 
nature all excited by the past solemnity ; her inmost feel- 
ings crushed or raked up, as may be, by congratulations. 
To subject a lady to such torture seems an act of cruelty 
in cold blood. Suppose her joy is too great for utterance, 
that there has been opposition in delay, why stick her up 
on a pedestal, so that all may read the emotions of that 
throbbing heart beneath its encasement of Brussels lace 1 
Suppose that heart does not go along with the joy, and the 
compliments and the hopes of ever-constant felicity ; " let 
the stricken deer go weep ;" do not parade what now 
had better be forgotten. To some heart in that over- 
dressed assembly of smiling friends there will be a touch, 
in whatever is said, to give pain ; on occasions also where 
the feelings form the actual theme, the less said the better. 

The bride has, however, retired, and we will follow. 
Her travelling-dress is now to be assumed. This should be 
good in quality, but plain, like a handsome dress for morn- 
ing calls. An elegant bonnet, not too plain, a handsome 
shawl or mantle, and coloured gloves, form the suitable 
costume, of which it is impossible to define the component 
parts, but we merely recommend that the colours of the 
dress, and shawl, and bonnet, should as nearly as possible 
assimilate ; that the style should be of the very best, so 
that the impression left may be suitable, agreeable, and 
elegant. 

One more word about fees to servants. These form a 
very varying point on a marriage, and depend on the con- 
dition in life of the parties. A considerable sum is expected 
from a nobleman, or commoner of large fortune, but a much 
more modest calculation for a professional man, or a son 
whose father is still living, and who receives merely an 
allowance to enable him to marry. 

Presents are usual, first from the bridegroom to the 
bridesmaids. These generally consist of jewellery, the de- 
vice of which should be unique or quaint, the article more 



374 



MAEEIAGE. 



elegant than massive. The female servants of the family, 
more especially servants who have lived many years in their 
place, also expect presents, such as gowns or shawls ; or to 
a very valued personal attendant or housekeeper, a watch. 
But on such points discretion must suggest, and liberality 
measure out the largesse as the gift. 



CHAPTER XVI. 



PRESENTATION" AT COTJET. 

Fiest let us consider wlic- are entitled to this honour, since 
there are regulations on the point which it is both unwise 
and ill-bred to overlook. 

It is almost useless to refer to the nobility, their wives 
and daughters, who are of course eligible for presentation, 
as are all persons of title of good character in society. 

The wives and daughters of the clergy, of military and 
naval officers, of physicians and barristers, can be presented. 
These are the aristocratic professions j but the wives and 
daughters of general practitioners and of solicitors are not 
entitled to a presentation. The wives and daughters of 
merchants, or of men in business (excepting bankers), are 
not entitled to presentation. Nevertheless, though many 
ladies of this class were refused presentation early in this 
reign, it is certain that many have since been presented, 
whether by accident, or by a system of making the Queen 
more accessible, does not appear. 

No divorcee, nor lady married, after having lived with 
her husband or with any one else before her marriage, can 
be received, although probably many upon whose conduct 
rests some stain less notorious are presented. The late 
Queen Adelaide felt the insult very severely, when the ci- 
devant cook-maid, of no good repute, but a countess by 
marriage, was brought into the presence-chamber. Queen 
Adelaide, it is said, could with difficulty restrain tears of 
vexation. The countess's name was called out in vain. 
375 



376 



PRESENTATION AT COURT. 



The Queen turned on one side, and suffered her to pass on 
unheeded, the King simply bowing to her ladyship as she 
passed on. At the same time, the Dowager-Countess of 
Essex, once a public singer, but highly respectable, has 
always been received with marked respect. 

In seeking for a lady to present another lady at Court 
(the first step), the higher the rank and the more unexcep- 
tionable the character the better. In asking this, it must be 
remembered that it is a favour of great delicacy to require 
from any one except a relation. It is necessary also for 
the lady who presents to be at the drawing-room on the 
day when the presentation takes place. If a lady of rank 
cannot be found, the wife of a county member, or of a man 
high in office, or of a military man of standing, or of a bar- 
rister's wife whose husband is of high standing, can be re- 
sorted to. Generally speaking, ladies in the Queen's house- 
hold, unless of high position, do not like to present other 
ladies, not relations. Any lady who has been presented at 
Court may present in her turn. 

These arrangements having been made, and a suitable 
dress prepared, the next step is to consult the regulations 
specified and published by the Lord Chamberlain. They 
are as follows : — 

THE QUEEN'S LEVEES OR DRAWING-ROOMS. 

REGULATIONS 

To be observed with regard to the Queerfs Levees at St. James's 
Palace. 

The Noblemen and' Gentlemen, who propose to attend Her 
Majesty's Levees, at St. James's Palace, are requested to bring 
with them two large cards, with their names clearly written 
thereon, one to be left with the Queen's Page in attendance in 
the corridor, and the other to be delivered to the Lord Cham- 
berlain, who will announce the name to the Queen. 

PRESENTATIONS. 

Anv Nobleman or Gentleman who proposes to be presented 



PRESEN TATION AT COURT. 



377 



to the Queen must leave at the Lord Chamberlain's Office, before, 
twelve o'clock, two clear days before the Levee, a card with his 
name written thereon, and with the name of the Nobleman or 
Gentleman by whom he is to be presented. In Order to carry 
out the existing regulation that no presentation can be made at 
a Levee excepting by a person actually attending that Levee, it 
is also necessary that a letter from the Nobleman or Gentleman 
who is to make the presentation, stating it to be his intention 
to be present, should accompany the presentation card above 
referred to, which will be submitted to the Queen for Her 
Majesty's approbation. It is Her Majesty's command, that no 
presentations shalT'be made at the Levees, except in accordance 
with the above regulations. 

It is particularly requested, that in every case the names be 
very distinctly written upon the cards to be delivered to the 
Lord Chamberlain, in order that there may be no difficulty in 
announcing them to the Queen. 

The state apartments will not be open for the reception of 
the company coming to Court until half-past one o'clock. 

These regulations apply equally to ladies and gentlemen. 
Directions at what gate to enter, and where the carriages 
are to set down, are always printed in the newspapers. 

It is desirable to be early, in order to avoid the great 
crowd, which, of late years, has rendered attendance at the 
drawing-room a great effort, even to the strongest. On 
getting out of the carriage, everything in the shape of 'a 
cloak, or scarf, even of lace, must be left behind ; the train 
is folded carefully over the left arm, and the wearer enters 
the long gallery at St. James's, where she waits until her 
turn comes for presentation : she then proceeds to the Pre- 
sence-Chamber, w T hich is entered by two doors ; she goes 
in by that indicated to her, and, on finding herself in the 
Presence-Chamber, lets down her train, which is instantly 
spread out by the Lords-in-waiting with their wands, so 
that the lady walks easily forward to the Queen. The card 
on which the lady's name is inscribed is then handed to 
another Lord-in- waiting, who reads the name aloud to the 
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4 

378 PRESENTATION AT COURT. ^ 

U ° / *«^> 

Queen. When she arrives just before Her Majesty, she 
should curtsey very low, so low as almost, but not quite, to 
kneel to the Queen, who, if the lady presented be a peeress, 
or a peer's daughter, kisses her forehead ; if merely a com- 
moner, holds out her hand to be kissed by the lady pre- 
sented, who, having done so, rises, and making another 
curtsey to Prince Albert, and also severally to any member,- 
of the Royal Family present, and then passes on, keepina 
her face towards the Queen, and backing out to the doo: 
appointed for those who go out of the Presence-Chamber. 

In this transient scere, habitual elegance and dignity c 
carriage, presence of mind, coupled with the respectfi 
demeanour proper on such occasions, are requisite, an 
nervousness and diffidence are as much out of place as 
bold and careless deportment. 



1